Pulp’s annual Halloween party afforded students one last chance to dress up and have fun before the start of the final exam season.
Despite fierce competition from mermaids, a bunch of grapes, a sniper and a variety of ghoulish creatures, Gerald van Eeden’s (22) Pennywise the Clown took first place in the best-dressed competition.
The terrifying clown has proved popular lately since the newest film adaption of Stephen King’s IT was released this year, with many of Pulp’s members clamouring to see it. According to Pulp chairperson William Burger: “A lot of people want us to screen IT, but it’s not available yet.”
Magician Jesse Brooks, an alumna of the university and the College of Magic in Cape Town, added another element of entertainment to the night.
When asked why he thought his performance was fitting for a Halloween party he replied: “If people are receptive to magic and they want to see it you can get a moment of astonishment, of strangeness, of wonder. I think that’s important. It goes well with a Halloween party for something that’s different and entertaining.”
When asked why she thinks students seem to enjoy Halloween so much, Pulp’s social media coordinator Mikhaila Coerecius said: “People love spooky things and mysteriousness, and the mysterious thing about being a student is not knowing if you’re going to get pred, or get a job,” she said with a laugh.
According to Burger, the theatre chose not to screen a horror movie for the evening’s event. The reason being that the Shnit Worldwide Shortfilmfestival was playing simultaneously and “it was hard to schedule”.
Coerecius adds: “If a party is going on you can hear what’s happening in the cinema simultaneously, so sound-wise it wouldn’t have worked out.”
While the party had an impressive turnout, the committee say it is difficult to determine where it ranks compared to to other Pulp events.
“It’s tough to say because depending on students and what they study – participation can fluctuate, but it’s definitely an exciting one because it’s the last one. People want to come and see what Pulp’s about and maybe join next year,” says Coerecius.
The history of halloween
Halloween is an annual holiday celebrated on 31 October and dates back to the ancient Celtic celebration of Samhain (pronounced so-win), which means “summer’s end” in Gaelic.
The Celts celebrated their new year on November 1 which marked the end of summer and the harvest, and the beginning of winter.
They believed that on the night before the new year (October 31), the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred.
In 43 A.D the Roman Empire influenced the Celts and over the next four hundred years, two festivals of Roman origin were combined with Samhain.
The first was Feralia, a day in late October when the Romans commemorated the dead. The second was a day to honor Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and trees.
On May 13 609 A.D Pope Boniface IV declared the day would honour all Christian martyrs.
Pope Gregory III later expanded the day to include all saints as well as all martyrs, and moved the observance from May 13 to November 1.
All Souls Day was celebrated similarly to Samhain, with big bonfires and dressing up in costumes as saints, angels and devils.
The All Saints Day celebration was also called All-hallows or All-hallowmas (from Middle English Alholowmesse meaning All Saints’ Day) and the night before was called called All-Hallows Eve and later, Halloween.
The history of halloween costumes
Hundreds of years ago, winter was an uncertain and dangerous time.
It was believed that ghosts came back to the earthly world on Halloween. Therefore, to avoid being recognised by ghosts, people would wear masks when they left their homes after dark so that the ghosts would mistake them for fellow spirits.
Predominantly an American holiday
Halloween beliefs and customs were brought to North America with the early Irish immigrants, and later by the great waves of Irish immigrants fleeing the famines of the first half of the nineteenth century.
– Tegan Mouton and Christina Pitt