Thirty-five downtown Evanston restaurants will offer Northwestern students free samples of their fare from 4 to 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 5.

“It’s like Trick or Treat without the costumes,” said one student participating in last year’s Big Bite Night.

About 1,500 students are expected to join the food crawl on the Sunday of new student week, when residence hall kitchens are often closed.

The event is a collaboration of the university, the restaurants and the downtown marketing group EvMark.

“Big Bite Night is especially good for new students who don’t yet know what lies off campus,” says Jilian Lopez, Director of Community Relations for Northwestern’s Associated Student Government.

To participate, students can check in at any of three locations — Whole Foods at Chicago Avenue and Church Street, the Chase tower building at 1603 Orrington Ave. or the Norris Student Center on campus — and show their WildCards to receive goodie bags and walking routes.

Whole Foods Market is donating the bags including ones made of 80% post-consumer waste recycled material suitable for shopping or books for the first 100 students.

“Downtown Evanston offers 87 restaurants,” says Carolyn Dellutri, executive director of EVMark, “and this events welcomes students to their culinary neighborhood.”

New on the list of participating restaurants this year are Zoba Noodle, Reverence Café, Bravo and Big Ka Hoo Na.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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