You’ll never guess who I saw this past Saturday night at Middlebury. Don Draper! Looking spiffy in a black suit and hat, Don was out and about, but his fellow “Mad Men” were nowhere to be found. Instead, Don was interacting with a new crew, and a rather curious crew at that. With him was a group of serious birdwatchers, some black cats, a pair of fly fishermen, biker chicks and even the Flinstones! No, this was not a dream I had, this was Halloween at Middlebury.
Though there may be more costumes seen around campus this Wednesday on October 31st, for the most part Midd Kids rang in Halloween a bit early this year. Throughout the semester, though, students constantly dress up for various occasions. Whether it’s for a specific team or club on campus that has organized an event, or just a group of friends wanting to spice up their wardrobes, it’s not uncommon to see students dress up a bit funny on a Saturday night here. Over the course of three years at Middlebury, I have managed to accumulate a unique assortment of quirky clothing options reserved for these occasions. Together with my friends, a communal box has emerged, filled with boas, crazy hats, neon t-shirts, animal print fabric and more. You never quite know what you’ll walk away with after diving into our shared stash, but after a wardrobe choice has been made (and been edited, and re-edited, by friends) you will want to take a quick picture that you can show your grandchildren some day — proof that before your legs became creaky and your hearing started to go, you dressed up like a goofball and had a good night out.
Given all the dressing up that goes on at Middlebury, I shouldn’t have been surprised that students went “all out” on Halloween. Part of me anticipated this, but part of me was caught off-guard too. While trick-or-treating may be a thing of the past for most of us here, as my weekend showed me, Halloween is still very much alive. A slew of intricately-carved pumpkins, all of which had been created by students, sat outside my friends’ porch on Friday night. When I stopped by that evening to say hi, I found a tray of freshly roasted pumpkin seeds and a steaming pot of mulled apple cider. That festive spirit continued as Don Draper and the rest of the gang emerged the following day.
I realized that midway through a fall semester consumed in part by job-searching, my quasi-adult mindset may have gripped me a little too tightly. As we run between interviews and information sessions, pretending to know what we want to do after graduation, we have to remember that at the end of the day, we are still college kids. For a minute, don’t be a student, don’t be a young adult: be a kid. Dress up funny, carve some pumpkins, sip apple cider and have fun. After all, it is Halloween.