Sarah Paper ’25
Amidst the chaos of midterms and the unpredictable Southern California weather, Halloweekend at The Claremont Colleges always arrives during a chaotic time in the semester. We’ll only get a handful of hot drinks, delay wearing warm jackets for as long as possible (especially when going out on the weekends), and see few colorful falling leaves. And yet Spooky Season, specifically Halloweekend, is an extremely hyped up and romanticized time here at the 5Cs, especially when compared to the usual level of enthusiasm about festivities on campus. These impending events and the anticipation surrounding them gives way for discussion around the party culture here at the 5Cs, and more importantly, how Scripps students should be thinking about how to better foster community on-campus.
For both those who are new and familiar with this holiday, Halloween offers a fun time to get spooky, dress up, and enjoy all the sweet treats and warm drinks we (and our flex) can handle. The party that usually takes place on the Saturday of Halloweekend is one of the most well-attended events across the 5Cs. It’s really the only time of year a majority of party-goers end up dressing on theme, which is a refreshing and colorful spectacle to observe.
Things have gotten a little disordered during Halloweekend in the past, especially in recent years. The 2021 Halloween party was held on Pitzer’s campus. It was a non-wrist banded, open capacity event that took place at the Pitzer mounds, with a fenced-off stage for performers (live musicians and DJs) beneath the clock tower. Although very successful in attendance, many students will remember this party by the somewhat treacherous human-landslide situation, induced by the combination of a sloped dance floor with the distinctly infamous mosh-style crowd concentration present at almost every Claremont party. Nevertheless, particularly for those of us who didn’t topple like dominoes, this party was incredibly lively and memorable.
Last year’s Halloween party on Scripps’ campus was also distinctly memorable. After about an hour of students arriving upon the scene, campus security was overwhelmed as gates were pushed aside and the main entrance was stampeded. This was the result of a rapidly growing line due to many students possessing false wristbands.
The former 5C Events Chair on Scripps Associated Students (SAS) commented on the extremely limited capacity Scripps’ students currently possess for hosting events, and how that contributed to the abrupt ending of Scripps’ 2022 Halloween party. “I think the fact that there was only one event going out on campus [that night], and it was severely limited in who could attend, just causes a huge issue of people feeling excluded,” she said. “If you want to have more manageable parties, there should actually be more parties going on every night so there aren’t as many people in one place.”
Recent changes in the Guide to Student Life have re-allowed for 5C clubs to host events on Scripps’ campus, although SAS is still the only organization that is allowed to host 5C parties. Hosting more than one of these events within the extensive amount of guidelines (for permitting, capacity, security, etc.) and within our budget, has not yet been possible since returning to campus in 2021. Variances across the 5Cs in terms of event funding, permitting, capacity, and wrist-banding are normal, but at Scripps many of the upperclassmen have watched the event scene here, particularly Scripps nightlife, disappear.
“It’s highly problematic if we have a culture where the only places we can go to party are CMC,” said the former 5C Events Chair. “I think having majority female environments where you’re allowed to be social is really important in building our community.”
Last Halloweekend brought up a more critical concept in our Scripps events culture, especially since easing restrictions since the COVID-19 shutdown.The amount of time, restrictions, and supervision that is required to host gatherings here eradicates opportunities for spontaneity and organic community gatherings, which has a negative impact campus-wide.
Whether you’d prefer to go out to a party or hang out in the common room with friends, every Scrippsie is looking for community. Moving forward, students and admin should be able to work together to facilitate a more connected community, whether it be through student-led events or changes in policies.
Image Source: Gordon Koff