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Halloween on Campus – Costumes, SYRs and Beyond

Observer Scene | Monday, October 31, 2005

Notre Dame is used to having its campus overrun by fans every football Saturday, but only once a year is campus swarmed by Ninja Turtles, fairy princesses and pirates.

Halloween is a time for college students to return to their childhood memories of trick-or-treating by dressing up in costume, but the activities they participate in while incognito differ somewhat from door-to-door candy collection.

Halloween has become a major event at many colleges, as huge celebrations at schools like the University of Wisconsin-Madison reveal. Students don’t simply dress up – they go all out, creating outrageous and creative costumes and vying for prizes in costume contests.

Students at Notre Dame attend parties, dances and other functions dressed up in various outfits – some random, some depicting famous characters.

Walking into a room, one can see costumes representing films like “Zoolander,” television shows like “The Dukes of Hazzard,” cartoons like “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” and inanimate objects like a Twister Board. Beauty queens, celebrities and Disney characters also abound.

Some costumes are obvious, like a beer can, while some require a little more explanation to be understood, such as someone dressed up like gum stuck to the bottom of a shoe.

There were a variety of events on campus in preparation for the Halloween holiday, and they ranged from community service events to dance parties.

Keenan Hall sponsored its annual Great Pumpkin event, in which underprivileged kids from the South Bend area are brought on campus to trick-or-treat in the dorms and enjoy a host of other Halloween activities.

Legends also sponsored several events related to Halloween this past weekend. The first was the Salsa-ween nightclub on Friday, with a live salsa DJ. Saturday night featured a Halloween Nightclub with a costume contest and a live DJ.

And since Halloween has fallen alongside a football bye weekend, SYRs became a central part of celebrating the holiday on the Notre Dame campus.

During the weekend, numerous dorms across campus celebrated this spooky (or sometimes goofy) holiday with crazy themes that let creativity run wild, such as the Nightmare on Mod Quad or Pangborn’s “Where Are You From You Sexy Thing?”

While there were lots of off-campus options for festivities, many students chose to stay on campus to celebrate Halloween. “My friends and I always have a lot of fun at dorm dances,” a Pasquerilla East junior said.

The weekend dances started early when the Class of 2008 hosted their annual Halloween dance Thursday night. While Halloween might usually be considered a holiday meant only for young trick-or-treaters, many students proved this idea false as they flooded costume stores and the Goodwill in search of the perfect costume to fit their dance theme.

Pangborn Hall joined in the Halloween weekend festivities with a “Where Are You From You Sexy Thing?” themed dance Friday night. Whether the girls and their dates dressed as their home city, state, or took the creativity a little further, everyone had a great time celebrating.

For some dorms, this weekend may have been their only chance for an SYR this semester, so even more people than usual got decked out and hit the dance floor – or made their own, which was the case for Fisher Hall residents. They bowled the night away and danced in the lanes at Beacon Bowl for their annual “Fisher Funk” event with Breen-Phillips.

The Funk, which was described as “funktacular” by freshman Billy Lyman, gave the men of Fisher, the women of B.P. and all of their dates an excuse to get all decked out in 70s duds and show off their bowling skills (or maybe, for some, their lack of skills). Many of Fisher’s residents consider this SYR their favorite. As Sophomore Jim Bochnowski said, “Good friends, good music, good bowling and a swell time all around.”

Meanwhile, at the Stepan Center on Saturday night, “Nightmare on Mod Quad” was in full swing. Casey Pepek, an RA in Pasquerilla East thought the Stepan Center was a great location for the annual Mod Quad dance.

“It is close and large enough to fit everyone,” Pepek said.

Knott RA Ricky McRoskey said that, “There was a good turnout and I thought the DJ kept it lively the entire time.”

Some of the creative costumes that could be spotted at the dance included Ariel from “The Little Mermaid,” and a group of four girls who were dressed up in perfectly coordinated Mean Girls outfits, like the ones characters wear during the Christmas dance scene.

No matter which dance venue students went to during the weekend, they had some Halloween fun. Creative costumes, great music and an occasional set of bowling shoes guaranteed spookily good times.

While Halloween may be for many people over the age of 12 nothing more than a warm-up for the Thanksgiving/Christmas season, college students are doing their part to make sure that it isn’t a holiday solely for the elementary school set. Students invest a lot of time and effort into creating a variety of creative costumes, above and beyond what one ever would have thought of creating when they were younger. With its mix of costumes and candy without the pressure of giving presents or hanging out with family, Halloween may be the perfect holiday for college students.