BYU Spooktacular creates a family-friendly environment

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Children participate in Halloween costume contest at the BYU Spooktacular. (Kristi Lee Neuberger)
Children participate in a Halloween costume contest at the BYU Spooktacular. (Kristi Lee Neuberger)

BYU is known for having a culture that promotes marriage. Each BYU event often includes some sort of dating or mingling activity targeted specifically towards helping students find their soulmate. Often family events are forgotten or excluded from the college scene in the midst of pick-up lines, first dates and wedding vows.

The BYU Student Activities Board puts on activities each year to help promote family-centered events. These events have included a Christmas Party and an Easter egg hunt. Every Halloween the organization conducts an event called Spooktacular” that involves all the BYU staff and neighboring community.

David Morris, an administrator for BYU, said he attends these events with his family each year. He said he finds the events to be well organized and perfect for “the little ones” along with teenagers.

“BYU is all about family,” Morris said. “At events like these people can bring kids and see coworkers in another, more exciting, element. It really mixes all the factors and adds to the unity of BYU.”

This year’s Spooktacular included a family photo booth, a dance floor and multiple carnival games. Kids participated in a costume parade and costume contests. Many families created costumes centered around one specific theme, such as super heroes, to gain them a spot in the ‘best family costume contest’.

The events have attracted a lot of attention from not only BYU faculty, but also members of the community, according to Valerie Shewfelt, a member of the Student Activities Board.  She said the activities seem to bring a greater sense of unity to the campus as well as the surrounding community.

“There are not a lot of family activities on campus so this is our attempt to play to a different audience,” Shewfelt said. “We want the families to know that we still find them important and we want to create fun, safe, family oriented events.”

BYU has the ability to promote its values in a way unlike most other universities because it is a private university that is sponsored by a religious organization. Many of the students at BYU come from LDS backgrounds and have been often taught the importance of the family as youth, according to Hannah Lutz, a member of the Student Activities Board.

“Activities like this simply reinforce the church’s view on family,” Lutz said.  “There are a lot of things that are not family friendly and this even shows that family is important to BYU.  We want to make everyone feel apart and accepted.”

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