By Mona Malacane
Six years ago, Travis Ross started a Halloween tradition that has become a legend. You overhear musings about the party during the orientation gathering, it had its own website, and the costumes are seriously creative (I highly recommend stalking some photo albums on Facebook). In fact, I think I overheard some of my fellow grad students in the grad lab planning their costumes as far back as July.
The party hasn’t always been the staple Halloween shindig though. Travis faced some stiff competition in the first few years he threw the Halloween party. Travis explains: “Halloween is one of those great things that somebody on campus is always going to be throwing a party. For the longest time I had to compete with other Halloween parties. There were like four years where I was just selling [my party] so hard just to try to get that critical mass that you need to make a party feel crowded enough to make the party feel like it is a good party.” Travis had to stop people in the halls and drop into classes before they started and advertise the party those first few years. The tradition eventually caught on and became a department staple.
Sadly, Travis and his wife Emily moved on to greener pastures (literally, they live on a farm), which left us pondering who will take over the party?! A few names were thrown around, and multiple people said they were willing to continue the tradition … but no one made any definitive moves. That was, until September 30th, when Rachel Bailey stepped up and made it clear that she is picking up the baton and throwing this year’s party.
I asked what possessed her (I channeled Edo for my pun there) to throw the Halloween party and her reply makes me believe that this year’s party is going to be epic: “Well, I love throwing parties. I like the details and the planning and having a theme to stick to and work towards. And Halloween is so fun … in general I go above and beyond for holidays of all kinds, but those who know me know I generally pull out the stops for Halloween especially.” Travis also mentioned that Rachel is a great hostess and likes to incorporate food into her themes.
When I asked Rachel if she will be doing anything different this year, she explained, “My party will be a good time, I’m sure. Will everything coalesce into the most magical, scarifying, awesome Halloween party ever? I have no idea … part of the thing about parties is you can plan everything to the tiniest detail and the dynamics just don’t come together. I’ll handle all the details – you guys just come ready to have a good time and we can’t miss.” She does, however, live in a home with a fire pit and plenty of land so there will be plenty of parking and “room for high jinks of various kinds.”
Travis will miss throwing the party but is happy that Rachel is continuing the tradition, telling me he is “glad it is going into good hands.” He has given his blessing but passes on a few tips: (1) have good lighting, (2) have plenty of spirits, (3) try and achieve the critical mass of people needed to feel like a good party, (4) keep the music going, and (5) “Watch out for Senia because she is a Spotify hacker.”