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As it Happened: Harvard Commencement 2023

Undergraduates Celebrate First Covid-Era Halloween on Campus

Trick-or-treaters receive candy in Adams House Sunday night.
Trick-or-treaters receive candy in Adams House Sunday night. By Pei Chao Zhuo
By Katerina V. Corr and Miles J. Herszenhorn, Contributing Writers

Undeterred by the rainy weather, Harvard students donned their spookiest costumes and traversed campus this weekend to celebrate the first in-person Halloweekend for many since 2019.

Many House Committees organized events to celebrate the holiday, including Halloween-themed “Stein” cocktail hours — dubbed “FrankenSteins” — along with movie nights, cookie decorating events, and pumpkin carving sessions.

Caroline M. Kubacki ’22, a Currier HoCo co-chair, said she was excited to be planning “Heaven and Hell,” Currier’s annual Halloween party, which was held annually for more than 40 years before the pandemic.

“This is an event that historically is the freshman Halloween party. Everyone in the Quad usually comes and usually there’s a line all the way down to the [Student Organization Center at Hilles],” she said.

Kubacki said the pandemic posed challenges for planning larger celebrations. This year, Heaven and Hell was exclusive to Currier residents, and had a limit of 150 attendees.

But despite the logistical difficulties, Kubacki said the event was necessary to help preserve Currier House’s culture and traditions.

“Even with these restrictions, it’s necessary to have Heaven and Hell because the seniors are the only ones that know these House traditions,” Kubacki said.

Fariba Mahmud ’22, a co-chair of the Winthrop HoCo, said she has observed an overall rise in interest in House events over the past year.

“The dining hall was packed,” Mahmud said of Winthrop’s Harry Potter-themed community dinner on Thursday. “One of the House staff even said it was the fullest community dinner they’d seen.”

“I think that people do not want to take the time that we have on campus for granted,” she added.

On Friday, the Garment District, a thrift store in Cambridge, was filled with Harvard students scrambling for last-minute outfits.

Lauren Henderson, an employee at the Garment District, said in her experience, college students all celebrate Halloween a little differently.

“More projectile vomiting for the freshmen,” she said. “The seniors kinda chill out with the costumes; the freshmen go full out. They go out with a bang.”

Several student organizations hosted Halloween events throughout the weekend.

The Advocate and Fig. Magazine organized a haunted house on Saturday evening.

In one of the rooms, patrons were tasked with answering an SAT math question while in a room with a clown.

“The scariest part was probably the SAT question. We sat there doing math,” Nisha A. Seyed ’23 reported after leaving the haunted house.

Rory P. R. Plunket ’24 celebrated Halloween on Saturday night at a party in the basement of Tasty Burger hosted by Harvard’s rowing teams.

“I am from Zimbabwe, so we didn’t really do Halloween back there,” he said. “So this is my first proper Halloween.”

Plunket said he enjoyed his first Halloween experience.

“It has been amazing, all the costumes are great,” he said. “We haven’t had trick or treating or any of that, but that’s college.”

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