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Day of the Event

Page history last edited by Alex Aronson 12 years, 4 months ago

It's Halloween already??? Yep. Scary huh? So what should the event look like? As we've mentioned, there's no fixed prescription, but here are some core components that'd be helpful to keep in mind:





Some criteria for good Trick-or-Vote locations:

Accessible for Transportation: Access to public transit is helpful for the car-less.  Easy-to-access parking is important for the car-ful.

Size: Don't pick a space so large you won't fill it comfortably. (unfilled space=>not that cool)

  A typical cocktail party can comfortably fit one person for every 10 square feet of venue space (2500 sq ft => 250 people).  A bit more space for a Trick-or-Vote venue can be good to make room for sign in tables and for small groups to convene.  Still, you don't want too much empty space (for instance, I would not suggest going all the way to 20 sq. ft. per person).

A room that can be controlled: you want good sightlines and a place for emcees and speakers to be that can hold the attention of the room…preferably a stage.

Sorta cool: it's nice to have a venue that attracts others. 

E.g., Concert venues work well.  They often have parking nearby, they have stages, people know where they are, and they're pretty cool  



Decorate venues spookily. Cobwebs, spiders, etc.  Haunted houses are fun. 

Safety: Make sure whatever you set up is safe and not so much work that it takes away from the central purpose.

Large Central sign-in table: The center of the room works pretty well.  (Think the bar at Cheers.)  For smaller gatherings, the front or back of the room can also work.





Plenty of Sign-in Volunteers: Plan out how many sign-in volunteers you think you'll need. How many people per minute you can sign in? How many signer-inners you want should reflect amount of time you want to take to sign people in.  If a person can sign in 2 people per minute, then that person could sign in 50 people in 25 minutes.  So we recommend having no fewer than one sign-in person for every 50 anticipated guests.  Thus, if you anticipate 250 people, you want at least 5 sign-in volunteers.


Team Lists: Sign in volunteers will sign in volunteers to teams.  For example, the first 8 people who sign in would be in the Ghost group, the next 8 people who sign in would be the Vampire Group, the next eight would be the Werewolf group, etc. 

      Team Stickers: Sign in volunteers will give trick-or-voters stickers that corresponded to the group they are assigned to.

      Team Signs: Trick-or-Trainers hold up signs that corresponds to group.  Trick-or-Voters gravitate towards the sign that corresponds to their sticker and team.


Pre-Canvass rally:


      Gifted Emcee(s): Recruit speaking talent that will draw people and get folks revved up for the canvass.  Cross-cutting speakers are best – that is, those that have appeal in different sectors.  The emcees and headline speakers should underscore the major reasons for Trick or Vote and get people excited and informed. 

Big Group training: The Emcee or other Big Room Trainer(s) does a big room training, with aid of power point and video.  The Trick or Vote canvass video will give some good, general canvass tips.  The power point is good for adaptability. 

 Trick-or-Trainers show up early: You'll need people to do the all-volunteer training, and they should arrive no later than an hour before kickoff.  90 to 120 minutes is probably better. Trick or Trainers are the folks who lead a team.

Small Group Training / Q&A: After the big room training, the Trick-or-Trainers should reinforce those messages, add additional details, and answer questions. Look to maintain/boost the enthusiasm and comfort levels.

Bags and Resources: Trick-or-Trainers make sure that everyone has their bags, clipboards, literature, map, and walk lists, candy, and other materials. (This of course means that Trick or Trainers need to have those materials



The walk itself:

  • Smooth deployment from the pre-canvass rally to the walk itself is crucial. Make sure you have transportation figured out beforehand. We suggest finding Trick-or-Trainers that can drive their teams to turf.

  • Fun Idea: plant a special prize (like an Ipod) at one of the doors on the turf. Tell canvassers beforehand that one of them will win the prize. This is helpful incentive for folks to finish their turfs.


Greeting your canvassers

  • Make sure you have lots of greeters (like the end of a marathon) for when people come back from their walk.

  • Have prizes to give out for volunteers who finish their turf, and for the person that knocks the most doors.

  • In Portland, all our volunteers get a free ticket to the concert, while the public has to pay. This is great volunteer incentive.

  • Collect peoples' turf – clip boards, etc. in an orderly fashion. This is key.



  • Plan for a rolling start to your party, since people will return at different times. Have fun halloweeny games to play, e.g. bobbing for apples, kissing booth

  • Have the party for non-walkers also (recommended) for a fee. This makes party bigger and gives more incentive for trick or voters.



Potential Challenges with the day:

Doing the event on Halloween day itself--which is on a Friday--will present a few challenges. You may choose to try to overcome these challenges, or you may just choose another day.


  • Challenge #1: Doing it on a weekday doesn't give you the whole day. Some people will not get out of work until the evening, so you'll need a plan to accomodate them.

    • Proposed solution: Do it in two shifts, early and later. Many students will be able to make it by 3pm or so, so deploy them first, then have another round ready to leave at 5:30 or so.


  • Challenge #2: Will people be home? A lot of people aren't home on Friday evenings, and some folks will be out doing other Halloweeny things. On the other hand, a lot of folks may be at home getting ready to go do other Halloweeny things later, so we may be in luck. A lot of people should also be home handing out candy to youngsters.

    • Proposed solution: Run some test canvasses on Friday evenings. Are people home? If yes, that's good.


  • Challenge #3: There are already a ton of Halloween parties. In many places, particularly on campus, Halloween is a huge party day. If that's the case in your neighborhood, it might make less sense to host your own post-canvass party.

    • Proposed Solution: Try to co-opt one of the existing parties. Maybe the the hosts will like the Trick or Vote concept and want to partner with you? This would also save you the work of having to plan your own party.


Sample Schedule

Here's a sample schedule for a 2-shift Trick or Vote canvass:


Round 1

3:30: Arrive, sign in

3:45: Announcement to find your teams

3:55: Speaker (vols in teams)

4:05: Canvass training in teams

4:20: Out the door

7:45 Back. Turn in Packets/Tally Sheets, food.


Round 2

5:00: Arrive, sign in, food

5:15: Announcement to find your teams, food

5:25: Speaker (vols in teams), food

5:35: Canvass training in teams

5:50: Out the door

8:45 Back. Packets/Tally Sheet collected.



Arrive early for set up.

Vols there 330-420 & 500-550

Food at 500-530 (deploy) & 730-815 (return)

Round 1 back at 8:00

Round 2 back at 9:45


Ghouls & Goblins Gala:

8:00-10:00: Ticket Sales/Will Call

8:00 – 9:00 Music Starts


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