Handling Halloween

Upperclassmen reflect on holidays past

During his freshman year at UB, Tal Kissos, a senior media study major, celebrated Halloween differently from most college students.

He was an Oomoa Loompa from the classic film Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.

He and eight others wore brown shirts and cut-up white pants from garbage bags. They wore white suspenders, dyed their skin orange and colored their hair green. They did not willingly choose the costume, though.

The group of nine boys was pledging the Sigma Chi Omega fraternity. The older brothers, already recognized as part of the fraternity, made them dress up as Oompa Loompas for a house party. "It was all in good fun," Kissos said.

He was not actually embarrassed because people at the party knew he and the others were pledges - they didn't dress as Oompa Loompas by choice.

Kissos believes Halloween is a bigger deal to underclassmen at UB. As students get older, some find Halloween to be overrated.

Kissos and his eight pledge brothers spent a long time creating their Oompa Loompa costumes - partially because they were scared of the older brothers and partly because it was their first Halloween at college. Though they did not get to enjoy the party the way the rest of the fraternity did - the newcomers were in charge of running the party and pouring people's drinks - they still had fun. They were on call all night, Kissos said. They had to break out into a choreographed Oompa Loompa song and dance every time a brother said to do so.

"I'd say Halloween is a bigger deal to underclassmen for the same reason they party harder than upperclassmen: It's the first time they're free to express their creativity without judgments from parents or anything," Kissos said.

Freshmen and sophomore girls are more likely to be found in "slutty" costumes than funny ones, according to Maria Gomez, a senior in UB's School of Management.

In high school, people see what Halloween is stereotypically like on social media sites, movies and television shows, Gomez said. She said freshmen expect Halloween to be insane, so they make it insane. She said though Halloween is fun and exciting, freshmen get "much more into it" than upperclassmen do.

"I think that by the time you become a junior or senior, you've been through Halloween already a few times," Gomez said. "Freshman year, it's the most fun because it's their first Halloween in college. There are crazy parties ... but by the time you're a junior or senior, you've already done it twice."

She said upperclassmen may still wear provocative outfits, but they know how to make them slightly classier, so they're not as extreme as the underclassmen's costumes.

As students become older, some may choose costumes more comical than revealing. But Gomez described the first two years of college like the Halloween scene from Mean Girls.

Shayna DeMari, a senior nursing major, wore a bra and tutu for Halloween her sophomore year at UB - she was dressed as a princess. The year after, though, she wore more appropriate outfits. She dressed as a hippie one night and then a cat with her friends. She said these are go-to costumes for most college upperclassmen because they're easy to make.

Every year, DeMari and her friends would attend house parties near South Campus. They were fun but overcrowded, she said.

"Usually Halloween is just a huge s*** show all over South Campus," DeMari said. "This year, we will probably dress in costumes similar to those we wore our junior year, except we're going to try out the Halloween bar crawl in downtown Buffalo to do something fun and different."

Each year is fun in its own way, DeMari said.

Michaela Rubin, a sophomore Chinese study major, doesn't see Halloween as a big deal.

Last year, she spent the night working at Hubie's in the Ellicott Food Court. The second night of Halloween weekend, Rubin went to a party on South Campus but said it was uneventful.

"The funny thing is that everyone has recently told me that Halloween is huge and I'm surprised at that just because of last year's experience," Rubin said. "My friends want me to go out with them to a warehouse party or something this Halloween around downtown or somewhere. However, I'm not very huge on dressing up, although it is fun ... I could personally care less if I go out for Halloween or not. It wouldn't be the end of the world for me."

Rubin said freshmen use Halloween as an excuse to get "drunk and stupid," but every weekend in Buffalo is like that.

She said it's cool that people still get excited for Halloween, and it makes her happy that others are able to relive their younger years "with a little more alcohol and a little more skin."

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