Top 5 Fun College Halloween Traditions

Spooky Season is almost at its end and Opus College Prep is here to share our favorite college halloween traditions! Wait, did we say horror? We meant festivities! It’s true that life as a student of higher academia is one full of challenges, hard work, and responsibilities. However, there’s more! Whether as an on-campus or a commuter, students at all universities will have access to a plethora of extracurricular sports and clubs. Beyond that even, many schools take pride in traditions that have formed over the years. 

Universities from all over the country are proud to cultivate seasonal traditions that help students develop a further sense of connection to not just the school, but the community and the alumni as well. Columbia University has Orgo Night, where the marching band entertains organic chemistry students by playing music outside the library on the eve of their final organic chemistry final. Murray State University has the Shoe Tree, which as you would think, is a tree covered top to bottom in shoes, which students believe will bring them good luck. Other schools encourage their students to rub parts of statues for good luck. Today, we’d like to explore traditions that are more festive in nature. 

Just as an aside, as with all things 2020, we understand that some schools may be adjusting their traditions or even postponing them. Regardless, we want to highlight on these traditions and hope that you’ll join us as we revel in these expressions of spooky holiday joy!  As many schools and students from all over the world love celebrating this holiday, we knew we couldn’t cover each and every tradition, so in order to keep things short and sweet, we are highlighting our top 5 favorite traditions.

UCLA’s All Hill Halloween

We think this one is the most heartwarming college halloween traditions and so we thought it deserved to be the first tradition we discussed! All Hill Halloween is an annual tradition where the University of California invites over 2,500 elementary and middle school students to trick or treat through the residence halls. These students are from low-income families in neighborhoods that may not be safe for trick or treating and this allows them the opportunity to trick or treat somewhere safe and fun. Not just for kids, this event gives students a low-key opportunity to get dressed up and enjoy handing out candy to the kids. This sweet tradition has been in place since 1986 and has carried on to this day, despite a brief  hiatus for construction.

Penn State’s Pumpkin Festival

Ghouls, ghosts, and pumpkins…oh my? Let’s be honest with ourselves, is there anything more festive than a Jack-O-Lantern? PSU recognizes not only the spooky gourd but the arts during their annual pumpkin festival. Held at the Arboretum, this event has grown to be the largest community event held at the location. They have awards for a variety of categories including age range, best pop culture theme, best PSU theme, and best Arboretum theme.  As you can imagine, this opens up a world of innovative opportunities for Penn State students and State College community members alike as they unleash their creative juices to wow the crowds and bring the festivities into full swing. The pumpkins are grown by the Arboretum and provided for free to contestants, with the result being over 500 pumpkins lined up for judging at the end of it!

Roanoke College’s Ghost Class

Is there anything more spine-chilling than a good ghost story? Stories of mysterious apparitions have survived the test to modern media, with a multitude of spooky shows focused on seeking out and communicating with shadow-y specters. Roanoke College hosts a class every year on halloween that investigates how our perception of paranormal activity has changed over time. Dr. Tom Carter has been teaching this class since 2006 and has had a number of close encounters of the paranormal persuasion. The university posted an article about their most recent class and this quote says it all about what Dr. Carter is trying to impart upon his students:

“After doing this for more than a dozen years, I no longer associate ghosts with death,” Carter said. “I associate ghosts with the living. The real question is, ‘Who lived in the house?’…It’s all about life energy, basically. All those ups and downs.”

This class is more than an hour long block in an auditorium. Dr. Carter takes a group of students to spend the night observing paranormal activity in the Monterey House, a historic home owned by the university, where he has personally had several spectral experiences over the years. Not only are students thrilled to be chilled by their creepy adventures, but this class allows them to experience something out of the ordinary that will certainly stay with them for life.

MIT’s Pumpkin Drop

If a pumpkin falls and there’s no one around to see it, does it still make a sound? We’re not sure, but what we do know is that all who attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s annual Pumpkin Drop are able to witness first hand what happens to these ghoulish gourds when they’re dropped off the roof of the Green Building, a whopping 21 floors to the ground! We know what you’re thinking, isn’t that wasteful? Worry not! All pumpkins used in this event were carved for the holidays and have lived out their lives as Jack O Lanterns.

This university, highly regarded for its engineering and physical science programs, asks this:

If a 5-kg pumpkin is tossed through a snowstorm such that it reaches the peak of its trajectory one meter above the roof of the Green Building, which is 90 meters tall, with what velocity does the pumpkin meet the ground in McDermott Court? How much time, in seconds, does the airborne pumpkin have to come to terms with its identity* before landing? You may neglect wind, viscous drag, and the altered aerodynamics of cold, wet pumpkins for the sake of simplicity.

In conclusion, not only is it great fun to drop great gourds from great heights, but it’s also educational!

Georgetown’s Healy Howl

Have you ever had a hankering to run through the woods and howl at a full moon? Yes? Well have we got the thing for you! Every year on Halloween, students of Georgetown University gather to watch the 1973 version of The Exorcist. This horrifying cult classic  is a great Halloween film to add to your movie list but what makes it so special? Parts of this What makes this film so special that it’s become a tradition for class after class of Georgetown Graduates? Well, parts of this movie were filmed at 3600 Prospect St NW in Washington, DC, a home owned by Georgetown University can be seen as the infamous Exorcist stairs in the movie. The screening is timed to end just before midnight, when the students then make their way to the campus cemetery and join together in a group howl at the moon. Is there any better way to relieve stress than to give the moon a quick howl? We can’t think of one and you might need it after watching one of the scariest movies ever made!

As always, Opus thanks you for joining us on yet another adventure into the world of higher academia! University life doesn’t have to be all work and no games. Building relationships with your peers, developing a sense of community, and enjoying all the extra curricular events your university has to offer are all wonderful and important aspects of the college experience. Not sure which school is the right fit for you academically and socially? Give us a call and allow us to guide you as you continue forward on your academic journey!

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