When that time of the year comes and people start carving pumpkins and dressing up as Harley Quinn (as if they don’t have any other ideas for a costume), SCC celebrates the holiday with a spooky—sometimes even funny event called the Halloween Dance Party, arranged by the International Peer Mentors (IPMs). After attending several parties at SCC, I had kind of lost hope for any other SCC parties.
But this year, it was lit.
Having learned from previous experience with SCC parties, I arrived an hour late just to skip the line and the tedious checking-in procedures.
I had the slightest bit of hope to just get right into partying. As I expected, there were people in costumes scattered all around the PUB gossiping, taking selfies and eating, while they were supposed to be in the main dining room. Well, I totally get it, because apart from the super dark atmosphere, the SnapBar brand photo booth in the corner, a semi- lit stage, some background pop music and snacks, there really wasn’t anything going on in there. No contest, no dancing, no anything.
I thought to myself that I made a huge mistake wasting my time at a party I wasn’t going to enjoy instead of being responsible with the huge amount of homework I was supposed to deal with.
I later learned that the delay was intentional. One of the IPMs, Duy Nguyen, said, “(The IPMs) noticed that students usually start showing up after seven, so we decided to arrange all the activities closer to the ending.”
When an IPM asked me for suggestions when they were planning the event, I remember going on and on (and on and on) about how there should be actual food at the party because people will get hungry. It’s pretty logical if you think about it: the party lasts from 6 to 9 p.m., and, what a coincidence, people usually have dinner then, too. Sadly, there were only snacks. I remember seeing mixed nuts and M&M’s, cookies of different kinds, vegetables and dips, soft drinks and even pies. Despite still being hungry afterward, I did enjoy them.
The funny thing is there was no water, which meant that students had to leave the main dining room and fetch water at the PUB’s water fountain.
We used paper plates and plastic knives and forks, which all seemed like they were scarce most of the time. At one point, I had to use a fork to cut out a piece of pumpkin pie. I don’t blame them, though, I can’t even keep my own kitchen utensils from going missing.
I was pretty impressed by the costumes this year. There were anime characters, people in animal onesies, princesses, witches, Tarzans, too many Pennywises and so on. Students also dressed up in groups and couples. A lot of them even took it to the next level, where they would act like their character or have extra equipment. The spectacle was astonishing.
The costume contest, however, was only alright. Anyone who wanted to enter came up to the stage, made a line, and introduced their character. The judges were Yushin Wung, Corry Anthony and Meg Humphrey from the International Education Office.
While they decided on a winner, the contestants stood there awkwardly in front of the audience. Some turned to their friends and started chatting. I really wished the judges had made the contestants show off their moves to the music.
At around 8 p.m., people started moving to the “dance floor.” I was surprised, because too often, students preferred the tables instead. At first, there were only small groups gathering and occasionally moving their legs.
I remember how a lot of people seemed like they wanted to dance, but were too shy to do so. It’s kind of like when you want to raise your hand in class, but you’re not sure that you have the right answer.
The floor slowly filled with people. The lights dimmed. The IPMs and volunteers ran on stage. The DJ turned the volume up.
Next thing we knew, 80 percent of the audience were sliding left and right, stomping our feet who-knows-how-many times and doing the cha-cha slide.
We did that for a while, and when there was the slightest sign of boredom, the IPMs and volunteers changed the music, forcing the audience to keep up. I think most of the students loved the group dance. After all, what could go wrong with following the orders of a non-human, moving two steps backwards and one step to the right, while mirroring people in animal costumes? After the group dance, some people took a seat, others took a sip of their soda.
Then the star of the show appeared: DJ Wayne Liu.
In the dark, where the only lights were those from his mixer, Liu performed live remixes of popular EDM and pop songs. As soon as the music got loud, the audience was back on the dance floor.
People were so into it, they moved and sang along to the music. And no, they did not just clap their hands or swing their arms, they actually danced. I have always been terrified to dance, but this time, I could not help myself.
As the music got louder and the beat got faster, everyone became more excited. It felt more like a party. When the drop came, everyone lost it, in a good way. They started jumping and screaming to the music.
The only thing missing was light effects. So, one volunteer thought it would be a good idea to take out their phone and turn on the flashlight. Soon after, everyone took out their flashlight. It felt just like a real dance floor.
After a few promises of “this is going to be the last drop,” the party was eventually declared “over.” Some students rushed to the bus stop that would take them to Aurora, some casually took their bags from the storage room. Most people left with a very satisfied look on their face.
A lot of people thought the raving was amazing. Annabel Lee, one of the most engaged dancers at the party, said, “(It) was awesome. I like parties. I rate this 8 out of 10.”
Other people thought that it was a good opportunity to make friends. Anas Al Juboori, one of the International Marketing Assistants at SCC, said, “I thought it was fun, I made some friends here. (There were) a lot of good costumes too.”
Some students only enjoyed part of the party. They said that the raving part was the best, but the activities took too long and the food was “so-so” since there were only snacks.
Others totally disliked the party. Akito Suzuki, a student, said, “When I went to the Halloween party last year, I didn’t like it either. My friends made me go.”
Negative feedback is inevitable, but the IPMs did a great job in putting this party together and making sure people were engaged. Farrell Fileas, an IPM who put a lot of effort into the event, said, “(The) setting up was definitely something that I felt nervous about because other previous IPMs gave me a lot of advice. I felt like this party was much better this time, collaboration with other clubs turned out great. The result was better (than previous years), people really enjoyed the dance.”
Overall, I had a blast. My faith in dance events has been restored. The IPMs have redeemed themselves as event planners, in a transformation that was almost... supernatural. If this keeps up, I might just have to start showing up more often.
- Khanh Dinh
- Photo Courtesy by Krittawat Pattaramekanon