While some Harvard students said they were disillusioned with the College’s party scene, several students fashioned their own ways to find joy over Halloweekend.
This year’s countdown to the last week of October conjured high spirits in the freshman class. In advance of the second in-person Halloween weekend since the Covid-19 pandemic sent students home in March 2020, freshmen painted pumpkins in a study break in Annenberg Hall — whose balcony sported a giant inflatable eyeball — and participated in competitive pumpkin decorating.
Some international students said they were surprised by the intensity of Halloween festivities in the United States. Taylor R. Browning ’26, who hails from the United Kingdom, said Harvard’s celebrations were far more extravagant than what he had observed back home.
“It definitely felt like you couldn’t escape it for the past couple of days,” he said.
Hugo L. M. Hinze ’26 said the holiday was particularly exciting for freshmen because they were in a new place, surrounded by new friends.
“I felt like it was very high energy,” he said.
Other students appreciated Halloweekend because of the brief respite it provided amid a chaotic semester.
“The bits I enjoyed most were honestly, at the end, going back to the common room and talking to people or going to get food,” Browning said. “Those were the highlights for me.”
Cesarina E. Marte ’26 said she enjoyed spending time with friends, especially after “the very stressful midterm season.”
But for a handful of freshmen, the party-filled weekend they had planned did not live up to their expectations.
Simone I. Peña ’26, who attended Currier House’s annual Heaven and Hell party as well as a Cabot House party before leaving early, called both functions “hot, smelly, and sweaty.”
Chrissy M. Cadigan ’26 escaped the confines of the Yard to party with friends at Columbia University.
“They all have clubs that they know they can get into and will go to every weekend,” Cadigan said of Columbia students. “It’s so fun. I’m so jealous.”
“I’m most looking forward to being an upperclassman for Halloweekend because I just feel like there’s so much more to go to for that,” she added. “Just because you’re all settled and you have more security with who your friends are, where you’re going, all that stuff.”
Jeremy S. Laue ’26 echoed Cadigan’s anticipation of becoming a party-savvy upperclassman.
“I am looking forward to the privacy as we move a little bit farther out and the security of already knowing that I've established these friends,” Laue said.
On Halloween night, a Jordan Peele horror movie marathon drew students hoping to fit in one final spook before midnight. The event, hosted by the Harvard Foundation for Intercultural and Race Relations, screened all three films from the director — “Get Out” (2017), “Us” (2019), and “Nope” (2022) — and served attendees candy from different cultures.
Jett M. Strayhorn ’25, an intern at the Foundation, said the event was organized to “gather people around and appreciate an artist of color.”
Even though some freshmen found the festivities lacking compared to their expectations, many students said they still enjoyed their first Halloween on campus.
“People are so hyped up about it. And they’re really excited about Halloween, which made it exciting,” Marte said. “That was the nice thing — just being able to be excited all together, chatting about something and not judging each other and just celebrating together.”