The Short Strange Life of a College Halloween Party

None of these people were there - as far as I know

In honor of this most unholy of college holidays, I thought I’d share one of my most stereotypical undergrad experiences to date. Two weeks ago, I was presented with a spooky Sophie’s Choice: early Halloween party, or a screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show? I’d never gotten to do the Time Warp in public, but a close friend was hosting, so the decision was ultimately out of my hands (It’s hard to duck a Facebook invite from your standing Friday lunch date).

As a mutual friend of three out of four housemates, I got roped into the decorating process, and what a job it was: cobwebs completing the half wall dividing the kitchen and living room; new red light bulbs for all the main fixtures; easy-wash red paint spelling out  the likes of “RED RUM” and “We all go a little mad sometimes…haven’t you?”; bathrooms with black lights and Freddy Krueger quotes. There were cauldron cakes (brownies with Reeses baked into the center), mudpies, and chips laid out in the front. Drinks ranged from from beer to spiked hot apple cider to four different flavors of Jello shots (the blue coconut – a family receipe – would prove to be a crowd pleaser) to “Hunch Punch” (Everclear, Kool-Aid, and fruit – the redneck response to sangria) mixed in a cooler as red as a Solo Cup (which, we discovered that afternoon, has a theme song now. Thank you country music?).  The four hostesses dressed up for the occasion, respectively, as a forties pin-up girl, a saucy Dorothy, a fallen angel, and a pirate wench that wouldn’t have looked out of place at the Moulin Rouge (I say all of that with love, the costumes were awesome). The pirate wench’s boyfriend ( my protector and enabler for the evening) wore a leprechaun’s vest and a giant green hat. I made everyone boxed jambalaya for dinner. The pin-up girl showed off her outfit to a friend that couldn’t stay before struggling with her hair for the next hour. And then we waited.

The party was supposed to commence at nine-thrity, which we all knew meant ten-thirty, but by ten-forty five the only guests were a girl in cat ears, an adorable Filipina in a panda hat, and a flapper. The flapper and I commiserated on our mirrored lives (school in DC before going broke and returning to schools closer to home) and shared politics before she went to smoke the first of many cigarettes. The pin-up girl’s migraine pulled her under for a while, and she sought shelter in her room. The pirate wench’s friends showed up to do her hair, and I hung out in the bathroom with my first blue coconut Jello shot. When we re-emerged, the party had undergone a total transformation.The hostesses, in an attempt to head off noise complaints, had invited their surrounding neighbors but hadn’t expected him to come. When I re-entered the living room around a quarter to midnight there weren’t just people I didn’t recognize, there was a crowd of people the hostesses had never seen in their lives. The neighbors had told friends, and once the amount of free unguarded alcohol was revealed the crowd kept coming. I spent the next half hour bouncing between the balcony (where someone was in a literal pissing match and a great many others were passing around a joint), the living room (where white boys–one in a Wayne Rooney jersey– attempted to Dougie) and the pin-up girl’s bedroom, where we marvelled at the turn of events (Her: “Who ARE all these people?!”  Me:”All I wished for tonight was drunk people to show up and entertain me, and that wish is coming true.”)

The fun slowed down once the fallen angel wanted to start charging for drinks an hour after the fact, and the crowd thinned accordingly despite our protests. We were invited to follow everyone downstairs, and, feeling like I had yet to get into the swing of things, I decided to go. What greeted me downstairs was… a twelve year old boy’s dream of college living. ESPN blasted from a flatscreen, the couches were pushed to the wall to make room for a pair of beer pong tables that spanned the room, and all the boys were shirtless, screaming rap lyrics and blowing smoke rings at each other after taking pulls from a hookah almost as tall as I was.(In the spirit of full disclosure, I should have seen it coming: the housing community this party was held in was the first and only place I ever got drunk – four shots of vodka and bending for a napkin felt like travelling through the center of the earth.) The leprechaun BF took full advantage of the hookah – sometimes taking pulls from both tubes at once – as I cheered the pirate wench’s friends in beer pong and rated the abs in the room with the other girls at the party.

After taking shots of Wild Turkey Honey with the pirate wench and watching one of the boys nearly hit the ceiling fan, the pin-up girl and I headed back upstairs, where the fallen angel had decided the party was over and started screaming at the guests from around the corner. We ushered the remaining guests onto the balcony, rinsed cans, and called a cab for the last stranded partygoer before finally crawling into bed at four-fifteen.

Highlight: the variety of liquor – I myself had four blue coconut jello shots, two glasses of Hunch Punch (plus countless Everclear-soaked pineapple slices) and three shots of Wild Turkey. The Fallen Angel’s cider remained mysteriously untouched.

Lowlight: Getting home at ten a.m. and pretending to be enthusiastic about the home football game a few hours later. Thank God I don’t get hangovers.

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