A brief history of DU Halloween activities

Jamie Crow | Staff Writer


The spooky season is upon us, and Halloween is right around the corner. Duquesne has several events planned for this week to celebrate the hauntings, including hayrides, Trick or Trivia and a Halloween crafts event in the NiteSpot. We here at The Duke wanted to creep it real and help you trick or treat yourself to hauntings of the past, so we dove into the archives to find out how past Duquesne students celebrated the holiday in some spooktacular ways.

Hayrides are a fan favorite for Halloween, and they’ve been around at Duquesne since the 1960s. In the Oct. 28, 1960 issue of The Duke, students were invited to attend Assumption Hall’s hayride on Nov. 2. The hayride planned to tour South Park, and the evening promised dancing at the Commissioner’s Cottage and “loads of good food.”

If you’re looking for a witch to help you find your future husband, the Oct. 27, 1961 issue has some tips for you. According to an article on page seven, “Any good witch could give you several different ways to see what he was going to look like.” As for the tips for catching a glimpse of your husband, they all work best at midnight on Oct. 31. However, if that’s too late for you, don’t fret: The experiments can work earlier in the day, but only if you have to be home on time.

One of the ways to catch a glimpse of your future husband is to get a ball of yarn. Make sure it’s small, because you have to throw it out the window and wind it up again, while reciting the Pater Noster backwards (a feat, the article says, which is rather difficult in itself). Then, when the yarn gets caught on something outside your window, you must look outside quickly. A vision of your future husband will appear, releasing the yarn. The 1960s sure had some interesting ideas about cuffing season.

A frightful edition of The Duke was published on Oct. 31, 1985. On page three, it was revealed that the Great Pumpkin made a visit to the Union Concourse. While the Great Pumpkin just looked like a tablecloth with a felt face, it’s still delightfully spooky.

On page five, two students were asked what they were planning on being for Halloween. While Win Kurlfink “never even thought about it,” forgetting that Halloween was so close, Lee Howard had a plan.

“I’m going to masquerade as a normal person,” Howard said. Honestly, a fantastic response.

Several entertainment options were featured for Halloween 1985. The Pittsburgh Playhouse was hosting two showings of George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead for only $2.95.

For those looking for a more social experience, there was Sigma Tau Gamma’s third annual Halloween party. Called the “Halloween Jam ‘85,” the party was hosted at the Irish Center in Squirrel Hill. The party promised a kickoff time of 8:00 p.m., featuring a happy hour with mixed drinks. Prizes were to be given out for best, worst and most original costumes. The band Jayguar and a DJ were featured so that there was “music all the time.” The STG social chairman, Kevin Popovic, said that he anticipated all 500 of the $5 tickets would be sold by the time of the party, promising to extend the ticket limit if he had to.


Duquesne hosted plenty of options for students to get their fill of both tricks and treats for Halloween 2009. The issue published on October 29, 2009 boasted several entertainment outlets for Halloween weekend, including some familiar to Duquesne students today.

A masquerade ball was hosted in the Union Ballroom on Oct. 30, featuring a contest to find the best costume and free food. The event was free and hosted by the Duquesne Program Council, Commuter Council and the Freshman Class Advisory Committee.

Those looking to get their craft on had the opportunity to do so in the NiteSpot on Oct. 29 with a pumpkin carving contest hosted by the Freshman Class Advisory Committee. The person with the best carving had the chance to win a cash prize to Barnes & Noble, but everyone also had the option to just come and enjoy free pizza.

The DPC film series we all know and love was showing Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince on Oct. 30 and 31. Free popcorn and beverages were served. At least we know some traditions stick.

For live entertainment options, students had the chance to hear local band Mace Ballard perform on Oct. 30 in the NiteSpot. Described as “pop-punk with hardcore tendencies, double bass drumming and screams,” the band promised that their show would be “high energy.”

Prior to the show, the band took part in a Trick or Treat Q&A session where they revealed their favorite thing about Halloween to be the bite-sized candy bars and the fact that pumpkin carving is socially acceptable. They also expressed their distaste for animal ears as costumes, and the lead singer, Chris Daley, who is now an adjunct professor in the Media department, said that his least favorite treat as a kid was “the bag of pennies or Huggies.”

If you missed their show back in 2009, don’t fret: their music was streaming free on their MySpace page (and is now streaming free on Spotify).