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The Echo
Taylor University, Upland, IN
Friday, June 14, 2024
The Echo

Halloween: a history of TU traditions

Dorm trick-or-treating returns to campus

To take a deep dive into The Echo archive is to explore a comprehensive history of how Taylor’s beloved traditions have developed over the years.

It does not take long for someone sifting through years of newspaper articles to notice the changing styles, both of the newspaper itself and those pictured in it.

While many Taylor traditions have remained unchanged since their origination, some have indeed changed with the times.

Halloween is one example.

The celebration of Halloween has ebbed and flowed throughout Taylor’s history.

In the past, it has largely been left up to the individual residence halls to decide how they will celebrate, and whether or not they choose to involve the community.

A brief snapshot of Halloween festivities over the years includes campus-wide parties, dances, activities and — in typical Taylor fashion — a touch of mischief.

In the Nov. 5, 1947 edition of The Echo, a front-page headline read “All-School Halloween Party Held at Gym.” Students celebrated by dressing up, participating in games and enjoying fall-themed dessert.

The same year, the school bell rang at 11 p.m. on Halloween night, signaling the start of pranks all evening long. The prankers’ weapons of choice included soap, firecrackers and a fire extinguisher.

56 years later, in 2003, five business students put together a Halloween alternative party at Upland Elementary School. Funded by Taylor World Outreach and local businesses, the party provided an outlet for young children to participate in more appropriate fall festivities for their age.

Along with parties, dances were historically one of Taylor’s favorite ways to celebrate Halloween. 

In 2011, the Marion YMCA hosted a Masquerade Ball for students and community members, and in 2015, the Dance and Special Events Committee planned a Halloween dance to be held on campus, complete with a “spider maze,” costume prizes and a candy bar.

In more recent years, several Taylor dorms have welcomed the community into their halls for dorm trick-or-treating.

The event can be as simple as a candy bowl at a hall’s front desk or as extravagant as Samuel Morris Hall’s recurring tradition: the Foundation open house.

In 2018, the open house involved trick-or-treating, a haunted maze, haunted house and even an escape room.

For the fall of 2020, in an effort to keep celebrating amidst COVID-19 restrictions, Foundation brought their open house outside. They created a haunted trail in the forest by Taylor Lake.

Bergwall Hall also joined Foundation in the forest, bringing their own vision to life with a trail called “Schoolyard Days.” 

Though it has taken several different forms over the years, hall trick-or-treating has become a beloved tradition that many community members and students anticipate each Halloween.

Logan Ross, a freshman and Upland native, fondly recalls the days past where she would participate in the dorm trick-or-treating festivities.

“The dorms were always one of our favorite spots to go,” Ross said. “Because they actually had good candy.”

She recalls the joys of seeing familiar faces while traipsing the halls of Olson and English, two dorms who were participating in the tradition at the time. One year, Ross’ gymnastics coach, who was a Taylor student at the time, handed Logan candy from her room.

Ross remembers thinking that the students seemed so old; now she is one of them.

While some may see trick-or-treating as a simple childhood activity, Taylor students leverage the holiday as an opportunity to connect with the community and leave an impact.

Though dorm trick-or-treating took a back seat during the past few years due to COVID-19 restrictions, the tradition will resume this year.

Community members are invited to visit the front desks of English, Olson and Swallow Robin with their families from 5:30-8 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 31.

Taylor’s greatest values are often reflected in the smallest traditions.

A piece of candy, a friendly face, a sweet memory in a small child’s mind — a priceless exchange that connects current students and the broader Upland community with the entire Taylor family of years past.