Like many of the students at The College of William and Mary, I’ve had my fair share of late-night trips to Wawa with friends. The typical scene is nearly always the same: Hordes of students of various levels of coherence stand around, all patiently (or impatiently) waiting for their various varieties of quesadillas or slowly sipping on 44 ounce containers of Wawa water.
This last Friday, however, something was different. The general mood had shifted. Something was spookier. Goofier. I met a milkshake that night. And that is pretty dang incredible.
This was, of course, because this weekend was Halloweekend, a sacred tradition at the College and institutions of learning everywhere. Some may shun this weekend as just another excuse for college students to go out drinking and partying rather than pursuing more academic interests.
While this may be true, one has to remember that this is college: Partying will happen. College social life finds a way. For haters of parties, at its worst Halloweekend can simply be another normal college weekend.
The way I see it, however, Halloweekend is not just enjoyable for the party crowd: It is a festival with an essence of creativity and fun that eclipses that of nearly any other college weekend and whole-heartedly represents the values the College holds dear.
A typical college party can have a theme beyond just being a party. Perhaps it’s jungle themed. Maybe tropical. Possibly something exhibiting even further creativity. These are all interesting ways to add some extra spice to the college party experience.
Halloweekend takes all of these themes, mixes them together, and throws in a heaping helping of infinite imagination, with costumes mixing cultures and ideas just as the College advises us to. The sheer creativity in what people can and will dress as is staggering, and the creativity exhibited is a reflection of the spirit of learning and curiosity the College prides itself on.
Appreciation for other people’s ideas is intrinsically built into the weekend: Regardless of who you are, it is almost impossible not to love someone committing wholeheartedly to a costume, whether it be anything from a body-tight skeleton suit to a Minion onesie.
Even if Halloween’s rampant consumerism makes you hate the holiday, Halloweekend at the College and other universities subverts this by proxy of the fact that everyone here is a college student attempting to save money whenever they can.
During Halloweekend, a well-thought-out pun costume is just as impressive as an extravagant, expensively tailored suit. A literal killer of cereal, a fan of ceilings and a physical manifestation of life handing out lemons are among the many punny possibilities that can be effective while also leting a wallet breathe easy.
One is limited by their own mind rather than wealth, a sentiment reflecting that of the American Dream and the opportunities that the College will hopefully give all of us in the future.
With all of this, Halloweekend acts as a great equalizer, allowing ingenuity to triumph and people to gather together under a banner of spooky fun. It acts as an excuse for the students of the College to accept each other outside of the classroom in a way not always seen on the weekends, and, if anything, it amplifies the values of the College beyond what a typical weekend could. Let us never forget: There truly is something special about meeting a milkshake.
Email Anthony Madalone at firstname.lastname@example.org.