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Halloween at Caltech

A few weeks ago, October 30th, marked midterms week, but more importantly, it marked Halloween! As Halloween fell on a Tuesday this year in the midst of midterms, students may not have been able to celebrate as they normally would. A number of houses threw events over the weekend, such as pumpkin carving, but nothing was organized on the day itself. However, to still have some festivities for the students, both Caltech Dining Services (CDS) and ASCIT (student government) worked to put together fun events for the holiday. Additionally, many pre-COVID traditions/events are being brought back now that restrictions have been almost entirely lifted.

CDS Haunted Maze

Entrance to the CDS Haunted Maze

A pre-COVID tradition that was revived last year, the Haunted Maze, is a fun, spooky experience. Caltech Dining Services set up a maze that students can travel through, receiving both a scare and dinner for the night. Entering through the Lloyd Courtyard gate, students took turns going through the very poorly lit hallways. There were hanging shanks of meat, “radioactive” zones, and creepy noises all throughout the maze. As I traveled through the maze, every few feet, I was scared that another CDS worker would jump out to spook me.

A Jack-O-Lantern "spewing" guacamole and chips

The maze ended with students going through the North House kitchen to enter Browne Dining Hall. Rather than house dinner, all students were offered a scary dinner from Browne. Options this year included Chicken Pumpkin Pie, chips and guacamole spilling from jack-o-lanterns, and an orange with a pea through the top to act as a “pumpkin.”

ASCIT Halloween

Tom Mannion preparing caramel for caramel apples

Taking place on Halloween day itself, Caltech’s student government set up a series of stations on the Olive Walk, surrounded by lights, ghostly inflatables, and tombstones. The stations included donuts and cider, face painting, apple bobbing, caramel apples, and a photo booth. One of the event’s highlights was a trick-or-treating route that included a stop at President Rosenbaum’s house! I ran into a few students who also went trick-or-treating in the surrounding neighborhoods.

RLCs trick or treating station
Costume contest participant dressed as Spider-Punk

With the photo booth, students could also enter the ASCIT photo contest, either as individuals or in a group. Some of the submissions included Sesame Street, Spider-Punk and the Del Mar Devil. The photos were sent to the student body who helped choose the winners of various GrubHub rewards. All the booths were manned by student volunteers. As someone who helped during the event, it was a lot of fun to paint faces, take pictures, and overall have fun on Halloween with friends.

Dabney Pumpkin Drop

Halloween ended with the Dabney Pumpkin Drop at midnight. Dabney Hovse dropped pumpkins soaked in liquid nitrogen from the top of Caltech Hall. A Caltech tradition, the pumpkins make a dramatic splatter upon landing on the stone in front of Caltech Hall. This was the first time I attended the Dabney Pumpkin Drop, and I am definitely happy I did it at least once before graduating.

Even with the stress of midterms hanging over one of the more fun holidays of the year, there were still a lot of ways to have fun during Halloweek this year!

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Ankita Nandi ’24

Hi! I’m a senior in Page and involved with a number of student organizations on campus. I’m Director of Operations in student government, part of the Executive Board for Asian Pacific Islander Desi Americans Plus (APIDA+), and involved with student publications like the literary magazine Looseleaf and the newspaper, The California Tech. Outside these activities, I enjoy spending time with friends outside on or off campus (like the Huntington Gardens), and love to read and get books from the local library.

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