Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
The popular, annual Halloween party is going to be held on Mertz Field this year. SAC has received funding from SBC and the blessings of the Dean’s Office and those in charge of campus spaces to set up a large tent in which the party will be held.
“The tent has 4 walls and the entrance/exit will be PAed. We are hoping to use Mertz 1st floor bathrooms for the event and there will be at least one PA at the door of Mertz to identify those entering Mertz as Swat students. We are also looking into renting heaters but we do believe that with so many people in the tent, the body heat alone will be enough to make the space warm enough,” SAC co-director Rebecca Commito ’10 said.
For the past couple years, the Halloween Party’s location has a debated topic. The party was originally held in Mary Lyons dorm, but its location changed after Halloween 2005, when the Deans’ Committee took into consideration ML residents’ complaints. 2006, the first year that SAC and StuCo co-sponsored the party, saw a lot of deliberation over the location of the party, but Upper Tarble was decided upon and exempted from its usual dry policy for the night. The party stayed in Upper Tarble for 2007, though concerns about preserving Upper Tarble in the face of party-sustained damage and the safety of the space itself took Upper Tarble raised concerns as to whether it should be the party space for the following year.
Last year, the party was held in Sharples, which was considered a successful event location. “Given the success of this particular party, we’re going to continue to think of it as a possible space, but we’re going to do it on a case-by-case basis,” said Paury Flowers, Assistant Coordinator of Student Activities.
The lack of ideal spaces on campus for large-scale parties has traditionally been an issue on Swarthmore’s campus. Last year’s location, Sharples, was deemed undesirable by some organizers because of the work required to arrange and clean up the space. “Though Halloween in Sharples was a lot of fun last year, the space isn’t conducive to housing a campus-wide party because of the difficulty of arranging the spaces/chairs/tables, having enough time to set up between dinner and the party, and having enough time to clean the space appropriately for breakfast the next morning,” Commito said.
This year’s tent idea is not new: former StuCo President Joella Fink ’07 proposed in 2006 to have the Halloween Party in a tent in the parking lot between LPAC, Lang Music Building, and Martin. Fink said in 2006 that “part of what makes [the Halloween Party] work is the novel space and just the sense that things are different and unusual. We’re taking it pretty far this year, but hopefully to good places.”
Having the party in either ML or PPR would require the consent of the dorms’ respective RAs, and this year they didn’t show interest in the big undertaking of hosting an all-campus event in their living spaces. There is also the safety concern of having at least a thousand Swarthmore students walking off school property to reach these locations.
The rain location of the party is the combination of Upper Tarble and Paces. However, organizers prefer the tent, indicating that it eliminates the risk of students climbing up and down two sets of stairs to reach the bathrooms in Tarble and the refreshments in Paces, not to mention the fact that it’s a novel location.
“This is the best attended campus event all year and we really want to make it fun and safe for everyone who comes. We think that this is the best option because all the party-goers can be together in one location and on one floor,” Commito said.