The University of Texas at Austin Campus Events + Entertainment Recreational committee hosted a Falloween Festival on Monday Oct. 24, instead of a haunted house like they have traditionally done.
Story By: Danielle Drews
Photos By: Ley Herr
“We decided to take a different direction and do something new this time. We’re mixing fall and halloween together to get the best of both worlds,” says Chair of Recreation Ashley Advani.
Among all the festive fall-themed activities were pumpkin painting, pumpkin carving, face painting, a pie-eating contest, a photobooth, and free fall-themed food. “I really love free food and there’s not a lot of Halloween stuff on campus,” says student Miguel Martinez. “I like being in the spirit because it reminds me of when I was younger.”
When the students first entered the Shirley Bird Perry Ballroom in the Texas Union, they all congregated around the food table, marveling at the caramelized apples and various pumpkin-themed food. Most students opted to enjoy the snacks they had selected, but a few excited students could not wait to start carving the pumpkins, choosing to enjoy their food while simultaneously planning the elaborate carvings for their pumpkins. Other artistic students started mixing various paint colors for their miniature pumpkins while sipping pumpkin-spiced lattes.
The line for the face painting station quickly grew after a few students modeled their new looks in the photo booth. Groups of friends relaxed at the tables, lingering over cookies and light-hearted conversation before pursuing the other activities. “Our goal is to make it a really fun and creative atmosphere for people to come and relax for a few hours. We know that this is around midterm time, we know that there are a lot of things on people’s minds, but if they can take a half hour or even the full three hours to come and paint a pumpkin or have an apple fritter and just relax a little bit,” says Advani.
Recreation is under the Events + Entertainment umbrella, and they plan events with an allocated budget that comes from student tuition, keeping student interest in mind. They try to plan events that will benefit the most students and be free and open to all students. Recreation tries to create “a relaxing and fun atmosphere,” according to Advani. This will not be the only event that the Recreation staff will host; they are planning several more to take place throughout the course of the year.
Not many students elected to come in costume, but that didn’t stop them from enthusiastically embracing the Halloween mentality. Another student, Carly Dolliger, says “I’m really excited to get into Halloween spirit and this event was one of the only really big ones on campus.” Students seemed to enjoy the event, and all the different activities that were offered. It didn’t take long for the hesitant atmosphere to dissolve into laughter as a giant game of Jenga toppled while “Thriller” played in the background.