Halloween has arrived, and the face of this originally Celtic
tradition is very different now from when students were much
younger. Trick-or-treating is no longer the predominant activity;
now, some students are engaging in a variety of events to celebrate
But not all students. Halloween always falls around fourth and
fifth week of fall quarter for UCLA students ““ a common time
for midterms ““ leaving many students to debate whether to go
out in costume or stay in and study.
Today, several events have been planned for students across the
Halloween GradBar, a costumes-optional party with free food and
drinks for graduate students, is being held in the Kerckhoff Grand
Salon and is sponsored by the Graduate Students Association.
But what may be the most compelling event for students to attend
is one that could save their lives in the event of a catastrophic
Zombie Survival Night, a tongue-in-cheek event put on by Enigma,
a student group for science-fiction buffs and videogamers, will
educate students on the dangers and likelihood of zombie attacks in
and around campus, said Tom Lai, the event’s host.
Lai, a graduate student in animation at the UCLA School of Film
and Television, said the event has been very successful in the
“No one knows where zombie-ism comes from,” Lai
said, adding that it is important to know what to do in the event
of an attack. He said education is key to survival.
“The government wants to keep zombies secret,” he
Although students at tonight’s meeting will be preparing
for the undead, myriad other costumed beings lined the streets of
Westwood this weekend.
Instead of ordinary UCLA students lugging backpacks and
textbooks up and down the hills, there were featherweight boxers,
cartoon characters and animals of all shapes and sizes.
On Friday night, one celebration spot was 500 Landfair Ave., at
the University Co-Operative Housing Association.
The event, dubbed “Nightmare on Landfair” according
to the graffiti art sign hanging outside, was put on for students
by the UCHA.
Abhay Chrungoo, one of the Halloween party committee members for
UCHA, said early in the evening that organizers expected between
700 and 1,000 people to be coming and going continuously.
Standing guard, Chrungoo blocked several people who were
fighting to sneak through the long line into the party.
“We hope to keep it going until 5 (in the morning), if we
can,” Chrungoo said.
Chrungoo added that the Los Angeles Fire Department comes to
inspect the premises before the event and give a permit. University
police also received notice of the event.
But even with large events like the UCHA party, as well as other
private celebrations, university police cruisers were not out in
Nancy Greenstein, director of police community services for
UCPD, said all weekends are likely times for parties and police did
not plan for any more officers than usual.
“Historically, there is no indication that Halloween is
more problematic than any other weekends,” Greenstein
Greenstein added that it is still important to be safe and watch
out for friends, regardless of the occasion.
One police cruiser passed by the Co-Op building, checking up on
the event and the attendees who roamed the neighboring streets.
Shouts and screams ““ mostly in French ““ came from the
restless partygoers, who were waving toy daggers and fake AK-47s in
Some students outside the event said that there were more people
on the street waiting to enter than inside the party.
Sultana Abassy, a third-year biology student, stood outside with
friends she said she had just met on her excursion into the
apartment streets. She had just left the party.
Abassy said there were about 15 people at the party when she had
first entered, and she was perplexed by the amount of people
waiting to get in.
Given that Halloween is on a Monday this year, Abassy can
consider herself lucky ““ she said all her midterms were
already over, so she had no exams to worry about. She added that
she thought those individuals who usually go out to drink and dance
would not be deterred.
“People who are, you know, fiends for studying are going
to be at home regardless,” Abassy said.
But some find the new activities to be nothing like the old
days, when the costumes brought in candy.
“(There is) no more trick-or-treating … (Halloween) was
fun when you were 10,” Abassy said.
“It’s not the same anymore.”