“Scare Bells Ring” selected as the winner of Halloween Challenge


Dr. Rivera will drop pieces of candy into the orange box at the top of Scare Bells Ring, and the candy will slide down the chute into a child’s basket. Photo courtesy of Kate Skalicky ’23

Margaret Moran and Talia Bank

This Halloween, trick-or-treating may look very different from years past, with COVID-19 numbers still on the rise in Minnesota and the rest of the country. Now in month five of her presidency, President Suzanne Rivera has been looking for ways that she can pass out candy safely from her home on Summit Ave. this Saturday night.

Partnering with Macalester Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Rivera called on students to help find a way. The announcement, submitted by Program Manager of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Jody Emmings challenged Macalester’s “makers, tinkerers, problem solvers, and inventors” to create “a hands-free solution… that allows President Rivera to safely hand out Halloween candy.” The team or individual with the winning candy dispenser receives a gift card to Shish, a Mediterranean restaurant on Grand Ave.  

This week she selected Kate Skalicky ’23, Anna Skalicky ’21 and Joselyn Angeles Figueroa ’21 as the winners. They named their invention “Scare Bells Ring.” It features a foot pedal with bells attached for a child to ring to announce their presence, a box with a jack-o-lantern where President Rivera may drop the candy and a long tube down which the candy will travel to them.

On the top of a front stoop, Scares Bells Ring features a long chute down which candy will be delivered to a child. Photo courtesy of Kate Skalicky ’23

“I chose the winning design because it allows truly touchless receipt of the candy while still permitting some fun Halloween interaction between me and the trick-or-treater,” Rivera wrote in an email to The Mac Weekly.  “I thought the video also showed great teamwork. ”

The winners are current roommates, and said they took part in the challenge after having a fun experience competing together in a previous challenge through the Program Board.

“We really focused on this idea of it being hands-free,” Angeles Figueroa said. “We figured that if it was hands-free we could still use the pedal. I actually first thought of it when I was at an apple orchard. I was using the hand washing station and it had a pump and it was an interesting way to not ever have to use my hands for something.”

They said when they won, they all burst with excitement.

“I was in class and I hadn’t checked my email and then I just heard Joselyn run into the kitchen, like ‘We won, we won!’” Kate Slalicky said. “Anna was asleep and she woke up Anna and we were all like, ‘What!’ We were so excited and also surprised.”

The three students are currently living off-campus in St. Paul. While they did not build a Halloween contraption for themselves, they plan to make goodie bags and pass them out to kids as they pass by. 

Rivera said with so many submissions, it was a tough call. Rivera received a total of 18 submissions to choose from, including two submissions from staff members. Each submission was a video of the invention in action. 

I laughed out loud at a few of the videos. It was really great to see how much imagination and joy went into creating these submissions.”

Emails: [email protected], [email protected]