From dining halls to lecture halls, one could hear the term “Halloweekend” tossed around like candy as Loyola students prepared for back-to-back evenings of excitement. Mertz and Francis Hall joined the festivities by organizing their first hall programs of the year: Halloween-themed parties on Oct. 30.
Mertz Hall Council Executive Board hosted a “Halloween Bash” from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in Centennial Forum for a dorm that houses more than 800 first-year students with a featured costume contest.
Programming coordinators were forced to cancel the costume contest after two people were signed up by the scheduled competition time.
On that same night, Francis Hall hosted a “More Treats Than Tricks!” Halloween party in the residence hall’s lobby from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Activities at the Francis Halloween party included a s’mores bonfire, mini pumpkin painting, a popcorn bar and a movie night.
At the Mertz “Halloween Bash,” activities included mini pumpkin decorating, temporary tattoos, a charming cauldron holding various kinds of chips and “trick-or-treating” with provided brown bags.
Alongside these activities, the “Halloween Bash” featured a photobooth adorned with bloody red handprints, props, and the title “Mertzoween” in red paint.
For the Mertz Hall Council Executive Board, this event was a long time in the making. Mertz residents could see flyers advertising the events in the elevator, on the second floor’s bulletin board and on the hall council Instagram.
Mertz’s Hall Council Vice President Sangamithra Rajesh said the council was unsure of their budget in the weeks following up to the event, what items to get for the Halloween Bash and how many people would attend due to it being the first event Hall Council has planned for the year.
Bri Coleman, the programming coordinator for Francis Hall Council, said the event was hosted as a way to provide an alternative space for people who didn’t want to go out to parties over the weekend.
“A decent amount of planning went into it,” Coleman said. “We came up with the idea about a month before the event happened and we had to coordinate with our resident director to buy those things but we didn’t really run into any challenges.”
A few dozen people attended the Francis Halloween Party, according to Coleman.
“Obviously, we want more people to be engaged but for our first event, I think that was a good start,” Coleman said.
The Mertz and Francis Hall Council executive boards are both made up of first-year residents who currently live in the residence halls.
Vivian Klosk, the other programming coordinator for Francis Hall, said she had heard about the costume contest planned in Mertz as well as a campus-wide trick-or-treat that took place Oct. 29.
Lack of participation in the Mertz costume contest may have been because attending the event was an impromptu decision for many guests.
“Me and my friend were gonna start getting ready and we were just like coming into the building and it seemed really fun. It’s there so why not?” said Isabella McQuerry, 18. McQuerry attended the event with 18-year-old Maya Atherly.
McQuerry said she and Atherly decided not to enter the costume contest because they were planning on going somewhere later and didn’t want to sit around in their costumes.
While the Mertz costume competition didn’t officially take place, The Phoenix was able to spot several ingenious costumes from Perry the Platypus to a Dragon Necromancer which seemed to be a crowd favorite.
Behind the Dragon costume was first-year international business major Sophie Zheng.
“The dragon I worked on during the pandemic so, I don’t know exactly how long it took but, the rest of it I did the week before Halloween,” Zheng said. “It’s an original character (OC) I made up called Dragon Necromancer.”
The handmade costume featured a long red hooded jacket, a dragon mask and a detachable dragon which rested on top of Zheng’s shoulder throughout the evening.
Although the Mertz costume contest turned out to be a trick, the Mertz “Halloween Bash” and the Francis “More Treats Than Tricks!” Halloween parties both turned out to be a treat for Loyola students looking for alternative environments to celebrate Halloweekend.