University of Vermont

Students in Costume, Along with Their Horses, at Annual Halloween Barn Event

Horse Barn trick-or-treating
Alice Tonry and her horse Greta, dressed a Big Bird and Elmo, greeted families as they trick-or-treated from stable to stable at the UVM Horse Barn for a belated Halloween celebration on Nov. 5. (Photo: Ben Sarle)

UVM's student-run Horse Barn Cooperative hosted its annual Halloween Barn event at the Ellen A. Hardacre Equine Center at the UVM farm on Spear St. on Monday night. Students dressed both themselves and their horses in costume and invited children from the community and their families to trick-or-treat from stall to stall.

In all, 21 students and horses participated and nearly 400 community members, including about 100 children, attended. Sixteen of the horses are owned by students who are enrolled or participate in the Horse Barn Cooperative, while the other five are Department of Animal Science horses cared for by 15 students enrolled in the hands-on horse management course Equus.

Junior French major Kelsey Guistra, an Equus student from Middleton, Mass., who dressed herself and her horse Molly as gypsies, was having fun. “I love it; I love seeing all the kids,” she said. “They all really love Molly. She’s being really good, and she loves all the kids, too.” 

UVM began the Halloween Barn event in 2004. “The students are really enthusiastic," said Dr. Jenny Wilkinson, a veterinarian and lecturer in the Department of Animal Sciences, who teaches the Equus course and directs the Horse Barn Cooperative. “It’s probably their favorite event of the year.” 

"We started this as a way to get Horse Barn members involved with the community, and to give a safe place for kids to combine two loves: trick-or-treating and horses," said Betsy Green, a faculty member in both Animal Science and UVM Extension, who launched the program with Josie Davis, associate dean in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. "It's grown by leaps and bounds over the last eight years."

The event was postponed for a week because of Hurricane Sandy. The students also held a bake sale at the event; proceeds will go to Red Cross Disaster Relief.