Tag Archives: Halloween

Dressing up…or…Down…this Halloween

Author: Mari Meyer, GSE ’12

Jack-o-lanterns are out, the air smells like autumn, and campus is electrically buzzing with talk about Halloween.  It’s hard not to hear every other student gushing about costume parties and plans as they sip on their hot cider and pumpkin lattes. 

It has not been surprising to me that, in the classroom, I am blown away by Penn students’ intelligence, creativity, and cutthroat ambition.  While I expect no less from them when it comes to preparing their costumes, I know that when it comes to Halloween on a college campus, all bets are off. 

Thankfully, we’ve made it almost a year without the need for fishnets and mouse ears—we’ve revived our senses and reminded ourselves that cold weather requires covering up and that costume parties are not synonymous with re-enacting the Victoria’s Secret catalogue.  But as my first Philadelphia Halloween draws nearer, it is hard not to wonder what this year will bring in the fascinating evolution of masquerade. 

For a holiday where, as kids, we disguised ourselves in big costumes and heavy face paint in the hopes of collecting the most candy while going door-to-door, we have certainly got a pretty interesting case of folktale-misinterpretation on our hands.  As “Sexy Dorothy” once said as she shivered in not much more than her sparkly red heels and frilly mini-petticoat, “we are definitely not in Kansas any more.”

For the purpose of this blog post, I will call this phenomenon the “Panda Effect,” the process by which someone’s first costume idea is slowly transformed into its most minimalist state.  Take my fabulous roommate, for example, who has changed her costume plans at least seven times over the course of the last few weeks.  Until yesterday, when she changed her mind altogether and decided to go as Frieda Kahlo, she planned to be a Panda.  But not just any Panda, a Sexy Panda.  First of all, my roommate is a very beautiful woman, so anything she wears will have the capacity to be seen as such, even if she doesn’t intend on it being so.  Having said that, her version of panda involved short shorts and nothing more but a small patch of fake fur covering her belly.  Of course there would be ears: it’s all about the ears when it comes to costumes.  How else would we really get what someone is going for without them? 

Somehow this:

The Inspiration

Turns into this:

The Final Product

While many people choose the “less is more” look, here is one example of a different kind of costume evolution, as experienced by my very dear friend as we’ve grown older (and perhaps wiser?).

Here is an early rendition, my friend as a sexy fish.

Sexy Goldfish

Last year, she decided it would be more fun and much warmer to lose the fish fins and go full-out zombie. Not exactly the hottest choice, unless you like blood and gore.

Huddled in a corner, looking for brains

I cannot—or rather, should not—judge this culture, nor can I claim to have never skimped down for the sake of the season (I went as Snooki from the Jersey Shore last year, after all).

There was that one year that I wanted to make a political statement about the sexification of Halloween culture and went as an “Off-duty Playboy Bunny.”  I spent most of the night having to explain exactly what I was and why, and kept thinking: Wow, I should have just worn the bunny ears and been done with it!

But here’s the thing: Halloween is so loved because it gives us one day a year to rid ourselves of inhibition and rules and dress however we want.  At the very least, it gives us an opportunity to be creative with our identities, and has a built in  excuse to eat the candy that we’re too embarrassed to buy in bulk any other time of the year.

House slippers are way more comfortable than heels

So whether you’re going “spooky” or “sexy” this year, have a happy, safe Halloween, Penn!


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Filed under Mari M., Student Perspective

Beware of Vampires

Author:  Colin Hennessy

October is here, and the season for tricks and treats and ghouls and ghosts is upon us. Halloween is an enjoyable time on any college campus, and while Twilight, True Blood and The Vampire Diaries have put the thirsty undead firmly in popular culture, there is another vampire that is perhaps even more dangerous. I am talking about vampire power [flash of lightening, crash of thunder!]

Vampire power is a serious threat for any larger organization including Penn. It may not seem like a big deal to leave your printer on at the end of the day, or even leave your cell phone plugged in for the afternoon, and in truth, the amount of power your equipment is drawing is minimal.

HOWEVER – When you consider the thousands of others on campus doing the same thing, the power draw can be significant. Vampire power or standby power is very common. More and more devices are able to reduce their power consumption when not in use; however, they are still drawing power – leaking power, consuming power.

Consider your office or dorm room. What is plugged in that doesn’t need to be? Each one of those devices is drawing power. Power that contributes to Penn’s overall footprint.

Penn has ambitious sustainability goals, and each of us play a role in helping Penn to achieve those goals. In the coming months join with your colleagues and fellow students in finding ways to reduce Penn’s energy consumption and start with vampire power.

Here are just a few simple things you can do to reduce your energy use:

  1. Unplug  your equipment when possible
  2. Dress for the weather vs. adjusting the thermostat
  3. Use daylight not lamplight
  4. Recycle
  5. Print less
  6. Use public transportation or walk
  7. Report problems
  8. Learn more – visit Penn’s Sustainability Website to get more information
  9. Encourage your friends to join you!

Let us all do our part to make Penn a greener place and keep the vampires out.

Happy Halloween.

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Filed under Campus Life, Colin H., Sustainability at Penn, The Penn Fund