They say that acceptance is the first step to recovery, so we’re just going to say it: we are too old for trick-or-treating. Instead of running around our neighborhoods with bags full of Kit Kat bars and Twizzlers, we have upgraded to dressing up as provocative animals (a la Mean Girls) and partying on frat row. However, some campuses beat most colleges’ Halloween-themed frat parties with some seriously awesome traditions. Don’t believe us? Check out these 10 spooky celebrations, ranked in order of epicness.
10. Harvey Mudd College’s Halloweiner
Imagine if your two favorite holidays—tailgating season (which basically is one holiday) and Halloween—joined forces to create an out-of-this-world celebration. At Harvey Mudd College, that fantasy is a reality. To start off their Halloween festivities with a bang, students barbeque hundreds (yes, hundreds) of pounds of meat for the entire student body. Halloweiner is basically a tailgate for this highly anticipated holiday.
9. SUNY Geneseo’s Halloweekend
Every collegiette knows that Halloween is no longer a one-night extravaganza, but at SUNY Geneseo, Halloweekend is more than a slew of frat parties. The festivities start with students rooting for their school’s hockey team… in costume.
“Freshman year, my guy friends went as Braveheart in full kilts and school-colored face paint a la Mel Gibson,” says Megan Killea, a senior at SUNY Geneseo. “My girlfriends and I went as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.”
The celebration continues with a street fair on Geneseo’s Main Street, which includes a Halloween parade as well as cider donuts—be still, our hearts.
“Even the college kids come out to see it,” adds Megan. “They get their daily dose of nostalgia and innocence before they go home and start pregaming in their costumes.” Meshed with a plethora of Halloween–themed parties, what could be better?
8. UNC-Chapel Hill’s Celebration on Franklin Street
Parades are one thing, but not many towns shut down an entire street to celebrate Halloween. Franklin Street, which is right by UNC-Chapel Hill’s campus, is one of the coolest places to be on this frightful night. On Halloween night, the town of Chapel Hill blocks off Franklin Street so college students and residents can roam the empty street. Translation? You and your friends can dress up in crazy costumes and have a few drinks (if you’re of legal age, that is).
“I've heard that it's so popular that other schools in North Carolina send busloads of students to Chapel Hill that night, although I know the police department has tried to discourage that,” says Alex Gladu, a junior at UNC-Chapel Hill and HC’s Life Editor.
According to the town of Chapel Hill’s website, this event attracts anywhere from 22,000 people (in 2012) to a whopping 80,000 attendees (in 2007). Between the large traffic this celebration receives and the ghoulish Halloween spirit, it’s no surprise that authorities have tightened up security. In 2008, Town Manager Roger L. Stancil initiated Homegrown Halloween, which strives to reduce crowd sizes and keep Franklin Street safe.
Since safety comes first and foremost, don’t be surprised if this street-wide celebration closes early or there are a lot of police officers patrolling the area—not just cute frat boys dressed up as cops!
7. Pennsylvania State University’s Pumpkin Festival
From selecting the perfect pumpkin at the patch to sketching out a spooky design to cooking pumpkin seeds, creating a jack-o’-lantern is arguably one of the best parts of Halloween. Penn State recognizes just how important carving a pumpkin is, and has dedicated a weeklong celebration to the cause. Though this event is only two years old, this annual collection of jack-o’-lantern festivities merits a spot on our coveted list.
“It’s nice that Penn State and the surrounding community of State College is offering an alternative way to celebrate the holiday rather than just by drinking,” says Erica Kasan, a junior at Penn State. “It doesn’t matter if you’re 10 or 21, Halloween can still be celebrated by everyone in a safe and fun [manner].”
In addition to refreshments, music and crafts, this school’s pumpkin festival also features a pumpkin carving competition. For a very retro twist, winners are rewarded with old-fashioned ribbons. Festive and nostalgic, a good ole carving competition is impossible to resist.
6. MIT’s Pumpkin Drop
Unless you have a knack for parabolas or physics, your ideal pre-Halloween extravaganza probably doesn’t include solving mathematical equations. But what if we told you that MIT’s highly academic event includes smashing frozen pumpkins? Um, what?
Just a few days before Halloween, students and friends watch a select group of classmates drop pumpkins off of the campus’s Green Building, which is 295 feet high. Participants are required to calculate which conditions would make the biggest splash—pun intended. After considering the height, velocity and other factors, these pumpkin smashers are required to put their calculations to the test. Whether or not you have an aptitude for science, how epic does exploding pumpkins sound?