Halloweekend is a huge weekend in Oberlin. From parties to 'sco nights to Get Wilder, there is no shortage of events in the week and weekend leading up to Halloween. This year, Halloween fell on a Monday, which meant the bulk of partying happened during the weekend.
Halloweekend also happened to be the weekend immediately after fall break. Over the break I fell ill, so the first week back at school I spent the week readjusting to campus while recovering from my sickness. It is always so grounding for me to have a break from school, it reminds me of what is important in life, as I often get caught up in campus nonsense. Returning to everyday academic life is always exciting, though, as I get to see my friends and return to some semblance of a structured existence. For my return to campus, I had big plans to go to as many Halloween events as possible all while 100% sober, but they fell through because I was just too dang tired. Alas, I lived vicariously through others by listening to stories of what people did. I will take you on a tour of the events that occurred, most of which I planned to go to but did not make it to.
A yearly Halloween event that the Program Board hosts is called Get Wilder. Events include trick-or-treating, costume contests, cookie decorating, and the piece de resistance: a giant mechanical pumpkin that operates like a mechanical bull. I was supposed to work at this event for the Resource Conservation Team, as we were doing a Halloween costume pop-up with items from the Free Store, Oberlin's premier destination for free items such as clothing and kitchen supplies. However, I was feeling mentally exhausted after my Wednesday so I opted to not attend. I did, however, eat a bite of a pumpkin donut served at Get Wilder, and it was delicious.
Halloween Splitchers was the same night, in the same building but one floor lower in the 'sco. The Dionysus Disco, or 'sco, is a club in the basement of the student union. The 'sco employs student workers to work at the bar, staff the club, and book artists to perform. Every Wednesday, there is a Splitchers event to mark the halfway point of the academic week. There is a musical theme, student DJ, dancing, pool, darts, and half-off pitchers of beer (hence the name). Halloween splitchers used to be a huge event pre-pandemic. I talked to a college fourth-year about it and they said their first year there was a line all the way from the 'sco entrance, down the hall, past the Rath dining hall, and through the mailroom. This year, I walked past and it was decently crowded with students dressed in costumes, but it was not completely packed with a line at the door. It still looked fun, but I was not in the mindset to rage to the music so I went and tucked myself into bed.
On Friday night, I committed to going to the 'sco to see DJ Assault. By committed, I mean I told several people that I would be there. When the time came to do it, though, after facilitating a cramped board meeting for the Asian American Alliance, I just wanted to lie down. I went back to my room, curled up in bed, and called my girlfriend. After a while of talking, I began to really lose my voice, a residual effect of my earlier sickness. One thing led to another, and I was passed out at a cool 10 pm. I woke up the next morning wearing all my clothes from the night before and extremely thirsty. I went to lunch at my co-op and hear all about the events of Friday night. The artist booked for Friday, DJ Assault, is a house artist from Detroit. I was very sad to miss this since I heard it was bonkers. He was changing the lyrics to his songs during the set and was wondering why people were leaving at 12:30 am because he wanted to go until 4 am (the set was set to end at 12:30 am). Overall, it sounded like a great show.
Lick or Treat is another classic Halloween event, hosted by the Oberlin Student Cooperative Association, or OSCA. Each housing co-op gets priority picking a day for their event based on their housing cleanliness scores. This year, Tank got the highest cleanliness score, so they chose Friday. The premise of Lick or Treat is that people make fancy drinks and then go door to door in costume in their co-op to trick or treat for drinks. You bring your own cup, drink things like ginger ale with mint, and have a party in cooperation. I didn't go to Tank's Lick or Treat this year, but I went last year and it was overwhelming, to say the least. The hallways were completely packed with people and the floors were covered in sticky juice. Nevertheless, it was an experience, and I got great use out of my Gingersnap costume (of Strawberry Shortcake and friends). At this year's Tank Lick or Treat, there was donut on a string eating, apple bobbing, and more fall-themed party events.
Another event that happened on Friday night was an Oberlin classic, Organ Pump. Oberlin hosts many instruments, as it is a world-class conservatory, so it is no surprise that there are several organs on campus. Most of them reside in the churches on campus, which are also surprisingly plentiful. Organ Pump is put on by the organ students in the conservatory, as a way to perform and get people to show up. It typically occurs on the Friday nearest to Halloween, and there are various stage activities that occur while the organ is played up above. It happens in Finney Chapel, which hosts a large cavernous amphitheater through which sound waves travel with ease. Last year, there was an MC and a fencing performance. The main draw of Organ Pump, though, is at the end they call people up to the stage. Everyone lies down and feels the resonance of the organ through the wooden floors. I myself have never experienced this and heard that this year they only let first-years on the stage.
On Saturday I went to a Diwali banquet hosted by the South Asian Students Association. I am taking Bhangra/Bollywood ExCo, a class in the Experimental College taught by students. Two of my friends are teaching it, and we learn Bhangra and Bollywood dances and their cultural contexts. For the banquet, the ExCo performed, so I went early to help set up and rehearse. The performance was a success, and we had tasty food afterward.
In the early evening, I finished up my costumes with my friends. For months (okay more like a couple of weeks) we had planned on going as the Backyardigans. I knew I wanted to be the moose, Tyrone, but there was some contention over who would be the penguin, Pablo. We sorted it out, but a majority of our costumes were DIY since we could not find the hyper-specific outfits that the Backyardigans wear. We used paper, duct tape, markers, and pipe cleaners to fasten our animal costumes. After finishing our art, we headed over to a Halloween swing dance event happening in Wilder. I danced with my friends, swinging to the live music and moving in a four-step pattern. I was wary to go to the event, since the last time I danced swing was very reluctantly in middle school, but it ended up being the best event of the weekend. After the last song, I gathered some candy and Oreos, and we walked over to Baldwin Cottage, the location of the dining co-op I eat in. We took photos in our outfits, then some of us headed to a jazz party while the rest of us stayed in the co-op and chatted. Oberlin planned a city-wide power outage to occur on Saturday at 12 am, likely to discourage late parties, and most of us wanted to get back to our dorms before then since the lack of power affected the outside door locks. Saturday dinner in my co-op was a fall-themed special meal and I got a save plate since I could not make the meal, so I munched on the butternut squash mac and cheese and pumpkin lentils. Those of us that stayed and talked eventually walked back to our rooms around 11:30 pm. I lit a candle, read, and waited for the power to go out. At approximately 12:01 am, the power went out dramatically, and I heard people scream-cheering outside.
Another Saturday event I learned about from others was Keep Lick or Treat. A highlight from my friend's visit to Keep was a peanut butter and jelly drink that had chunks of peanut butter in it.
As mentioned before, I am in a co-op in the Oberlin Student Cooperative Association (OSCA). I live in Third World Social Justice Housing (TWSJ) and dine in Third World Co-op (TWC), safe spaces for students of color in OSCA founded on the principles of the Third World Liberation Front. Saturday and Sunday nights in TWC, we have something called special meal. Every day we cook and clean for lunch and dinner, but the weekend dinner meals are extra special because someone picks a theme and usually spends more time cooking. Saturday's delicious fall meal was followed by dumplings on Sunday. After eating the delicious food, I was on the crew shift so I cleaned our industrial kitchen with two other co-opers. After crew, I always like to just sit at the dining table for awhile and rest.
By the time my rest was over, we were set to have TWSJ bonding. TWSJ is located on half of the third floor in Harkness, but bonding happened in the TWC dining room. We played spot it (my favorite) and cabo, a card game our Housing and Loose-Ends Coordinator or HLEC (kinda like an RA but more chill) learned while studying abroad in Ireland. It was a whole party, because most of us were still learning how to play cabo, so we made silly mistakes and then all laughed about it. I love the people I live with in TWSJ: although we are small, 7 people, we are mighty.
Overall, Halloweekend was not the crazy party weekend I expected, but it ended up being an awesome weekend nonetheless.
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