Runners don their 'scary' costumes for a HGHW fundraiser 5K bright and early on the morning of Saturday, October 30.
Members of the College community and residents of the greater Waterville area came together to “bring scary back to Halloween” by participating in the Second Annual Freaky 5K Fun Run and Walk, which took place on the Hill on the morning of Saturday, October 30. The event, which started and finished at the Diamond building, was co-hosted by the non-profit organization Hardy Girls Healthy Women (HGHW) and the Colby Volunteer Center (CVC).
The goal of the race was to raise awareness about the “sexualization [of girls] early on,” especially at a time of year when girls are bombarded with images of sexy, revealing costumes, Director of Development for HGHW Allison Cole said. “This holiday is now more about skin than scare,” Cole said to the participants before the event.
Executive Director of HGHW Megan Williams said that the costume selection for girls is limited starting at an early age. Stores offer an array of princess costumes to younger girls and a myriad of “sexy” options, such as “sexy pirate” or “sexy sailor,” to girls in their pre-teen and teen years. In addition to imposing sexual expectations on girls, these costume options stifle the creativity and fun of constructing homemade costumes that used to accompany late-October pumpkin-carving and leaf-raking. HGHW aims to empower girls to reverse this recent trend toward the sexy. “We’re all about giving girls options,” Williams said.
The CVC co-hosted the 5K, “helped…get the word out” and recruited teams to participate in order to qualify for the biggest group award, Williams said. In addition to a variety of students, faculty and staff members from the College, the swim team, the womens’ lacrosse team and the Gentlemen of Quality Club (GQ) all participated in the 5K. In addition, members of the cross-country team served as trail guides.
The event, which raised over $8,000 this year, also became more popular with the residents of the neighboring communities in just one year’s time. “We had a lot more families participate this year,” Williams.
Ellie Demmons, age 12, and Connor Demmons, age 10, of nearby Smithfield, Maine, participated in the event. Ellie wore a black cape and wig, along with spooky face make-up, and Connor was dressed as a “werewolf man.”
“My sister does the [Hardy Girls] program,” Connor said. “My mom and I love doing 5K’s, so we thought ‘Why not?’” Ellie, a member of the first HGHW group in the Skowhegan area, explained with enthusiasm that since there have only been two meetings thus far, the girls have just “gotten to know each other.” She expressed her excitement to meet new girls through the program over the course of the year.
The event also included a costume contest, which awarded prizes to the scariest and most creative get-ups in both the adult and under-18 age categories. Among the winners were Medusa, a group of crayon people and Bobby and Rachel Slay, a local couple spoofing Bobby Flay and Rachel Ray of the Food Network.
Costumes were not the only means of recognition though. The College’s swim team won a pizza party at Waterville House of Pizza (WHOP) for being the largest group to participate in the event. Lisa Lessard, an associate in the College’s Physics Department, won the prize for most funds raised by an individual by bringing in $365 for the cause. “I’ve been aware of the organization for a few years now,” Lessard said. “I try to support their efforts as much as I can, and I feel really strongly about their mission. Costumes aren’t what they used to be.”