Halloween in college ain’t your mama’s Halloween celebration! It is one of the biggest and hopefully wildest party nights of the fall semester, conveniently following the midterm season, making it all the more fun. As your first college party can be chaotic, your first college Halloween also requires some notion of planning.
To dress up or not to dress up, that is the question.
Since it’s once a year and tends to be fairly entertaining, I’m always leaning towards dressing up. You don’t want to look like you’re “too cool for this…” It doesn’t have to be an elaborate or expensive costume. In fact, some of the best and funniest costumes you’ll see are often of random pop culture figures that people made themselves. Whether you do a couples’ costume with your significant other, a group costume with your friends or just dress up by yourself, it’ll be a blast! And if you’re gonna spill cheap vodka all over yourself throughout the night, might as well do it on something that already looks ridiculous.
When should we start dressing up?
Halloween in college is a week long event. With October 31 falling on a Monday this year, expect people to start dressing up the week before, especially if you’re heading to a bar. However, don’t wear your best costume on Tuesday or Thursday night! Bunny ears or a random wig can do for the weeknight parties… Keep your two best options for Friday and Saturday.
What should I wear?
To quote one of our most esteemed references, aka Mean Girls, “Halloween is the one night a year when a girl can dress like a total slut and no other girls can say anything about it.” For the most part in college, this statement is true… However, you DO NOT have to wear a slutty costume to have fun. What you should wear on Halloween depends a lot on what you’re ultimately looking to get out of your weekend. Here’s a quick guide for you:
If you’re looking for a hookup
Go for the sexy/slutty version of anything under the sun. Sexy nurse, sexy cowboy, sexy cop, the list goes on. If you don’t want to shell out $50+ on a costume that barely covers your butt cheeks, get a bunch of accessories and wear a booty short, tutu or skirt and bralette, crop top or tank top. Wearing some sort of spanx/tights/fishnets is totally acceptable and can be much more flattering than bare legs. At the end of the day you want to be comfortable and feel confident about your look!
If you’re looking to meet your match
Go for a clever costume that really represents who are. Chances are it will spark conversation with someone you have good chances of getting along with. Star Wars Fans? Disney Buff? Breaking Bad Addict? Anyone who shares the same interest or is dressed up as a character from the show/movie will come chat with you.
If you’re looking to make new friends
Hands down, wear something funny/unexpected! Everyone loves a good chuckle especially after a couple shots of Fireball. Tons of people will come talk to you and point out your great sense of humor … which is the best start to make some new friends.
If you’re looking to have fun with your group
Go for the group costume! Chances are you might be party hopping on campus so your group will most likely all stay together, at least at the beginning of the night. A group costume makes for some great memories and Instagram opportunities.
If you’re looking to stay close to bae
Go for the couples costume! Whether you make it corny or funny, a couples costume is a great way to show all the sexy flight attendants and slutty cats in the room that your significant other is TAKEN. Don’t forget that Halloween in college is a shit show…
What to avoid: Offensive costumes that could get you kicked out of college
Not worth it… Plain and simple. Halloween is meant to party, dance, get drunk, have fun but it isn’t a contest for who can come up with the most provocative or offensive costume. If you have to ask if your costume’s offensive it’s probably better not to do it. Stay away from Cecil the Lion, Lamar Odom, any kind of racist or terrorist related costume, the list goes on…
If you waited till the last minute and everything in the store is sold out
If you’re one of those people who convinced themselves they weren’t dressing up for Halloween, and then come the night of the 31st, realize that pretty much the entire college plans on donning a costume…check out some of these quick and easy DIY costume ideas. You’re welcome.
- Avoid wearing high stilettos on Halloween in college… and opt for boots which are much easier to walk in.
- Consider bringing foldable flats or a pairs of flip flops. You most likely will be hitting up multiple parties on campus and walking quite a lot. As much as your outfit needs heels, you’ll be happy to have a change of shoes handy when 4 am rolls around.
- Bring a small crossover purse for your phone, student ID and credit card. Take only the essentials. Most costumes don’t have any pockets, so there will be nowhere to put all your stuff. A pouch can easily be left behind so you’re better off with a purse that has a strap. Remember to check for your belongings throughout the night or before you leave a party so you don’t leave your phone behind.
- Check the weather forecast. This won’t apply if you go to school in a sunny state, but for the rest of us, the weather can be very unpredictable at the end of October. Bring a really cheap jacket/cardigan/pashmina with you so you can cover up a bit at the end of the night, especially if you’re wearing what is pretty much just underwear.
When it comes to parties on Halloween weekend, your options will probably be endless. Everything from costume house parties to themed bar extravaganzas, EVERYONE will be doing something.
Regardless of what you and your friends agree to do for Halloween in college, anywhere you go will probably be crowded. Also chances are that your core group will eventually get separated and people will be going to different events. Try to have a small pregame with your friend group, take tons of pictures while your outfits are still nicely put together and your props are still accounted for. You can even test out your mixology skills and make Halloween-themed cocktails or jellow shots.
House parties are similar throughout college, but they tend to be more fun for special events such as Halloween. Going to a house party whether it’s at a frat house or just a friends’ place is by far our favorite option. It can be very entertaining to see all the random people you see on campus and in class dressed up. Another good thing is that no matter how strange/revealing your costume is, chances are it won’t nearly be the craziest one there!
Halloween in college also brings some novelty to the bar scene. Less people will be dressed up but good college bars usually have fun decorations and original deals and drink specials. Keep in mind that bars tend to be more strict at the door on Halloween so try at your own risk if you’re not 21. Once you’re in, watch your bar tab or the scariest thing you’ll see on Halloween will be your checking account in the morning… Finally, remember that college bars don’t necessarily mean that every single person out there is a student. Always watch your drink and keep an eye out for any potential creep.
If you don’t feel like schlepin to the house parties or the bars, chances are your university is hosting an official on-campus Halloween party. It should be more tame than the alternatives, but you might stumble onto some free food. Keep in mind that there won’t be any booze there and there will be a lot of RAs, chaperons and campus police. Some schools do throw down on Halloween and have amazing campus events so don’t rule it out completely!
- Have some sort of a plan. There will be a lot going on that night so make sure you lay down all of your options and decide where you want to go.
- If you’re going off campus to a house party or a bar, figure out their shuttle situation and make sure there is someone sober to get you back to campus. Everyone will be calling an Uber on Halloween so it may not be readily available.
- Find a couple of friends who want to come along and try to stick together. Last thing you want to do is to stumble alone on campus, drunk and wearing no real clothes.
- Don’t forget to eat something before you go out. With all the excitement of getting your costume together, putting on your awesome makeup, it’s really easy to completely forget about dinner and end up drinking on an empty stomach. Make sure you eat some carbs to soak up some of the booze.
- Don’t black out at the pregame. There will be hundreds of opportunities to get shitfaced in college, but only a couple Halloween nights. You will want to remember at least some of it. And what’s worse than waking up and finding out that you passed out at 9 pm and missed the whole party because you took too many shots?
Not into the party scene? No problem, there’s always something to do on Halloween! How about a scary movie night with your friends? You can also volunteer in any Halloween event organized in your college’s town such as haunted houses or hospital animations. And there’s always good ole trick-or-treating!
Halloween in college works just like any other night: you’ll have the best time doing what YOU want to do. So open that pumpkin ale, put on your Donald Trump wig and get ready for a spookishly great night!
Do you have any other tips for Freshmen about to experience their first Halloween in college ? Share in the comments!
Featured image source: cdn-ecomm.dreamingcode.com
Alexandra Smith is majoring in Psychology, with a minor in Creative Writing. In her free time, she enjoys running, hanging out with family friends, and roaming the world with her camera in hand.