Booming music, delicious food, assorted games and plentiful trick-or-treating spanned from the Bernice Abreo Fischer Amphitheatre to the greenhouse lawn the night of Oct. 21 in the return of the Student Union’s annual Boo at the U.
Oct. 21 marked the first Boo at the U since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the first to be operated by the new Student Union at Hubbard Hall after opening in January 2020. In previous years, the event was held indoors but was consciously held entirely outside this year in order to maintain COVID precautions, Student Union director David Sweeten said.
“The main factor was doing the event as safely as possible, so early on we decided to make the event 100% outside this year,” Sweeten said. “Also, expanding the footprint of the event really allowed us to space everything out.”
The outdoor setting also allowed room for the high attendance that was expected this year. Students, staff and faculty invited their families and friends, many of which were dressed in colorful and eccentric Halloween costumes.
“Boo at the U is one of our favorite events,” Sweeten said. “In our research, we discovered only about half of the local elementary schools were doing fall festivals this year, so we had an idea the turnout would be good.”
Many other alterations were made for the Halloween-centric night, including shortening the event from three hours to two and organizing trick-or-treating tables as opposed to the usual trunk-or-treating, Sweeten said.
The event featured a DJ, bounce houses and inflatable obstacle courses, a miniature train, tables hosted by student organizations, and giant versions of popular games like chess, Connect 4 and Jenga. Attendees were also welcomed to the amphitheater dance floor and freshly-grilled food.
Sophomores Liliana Moyle and Natalia Calzada both expressed their excitement about being able to join campus events as lively as Boo at the U after enrolling at Texas Woman’s University in the midst of the pandemic.
“I was living here at the time of the shut-down, and it was kind of depressing and sad,” Moyle said. “So, it feels really nice to come out to an event like this.”
Calzada added that she was impressed by the greatness of the event and wished well-being upon each attendee.
“It’s nice to see everybody come back together as a community after the shut-down,” Calzada said. “Hopefully, everybody is vaccinated and being safe because I feel like we, as a community, should take the responsibility of taking care of us.”
Sweeten said that this year’s Boo at the U was greatly successful, and that future events will continue to implement the changes that were made to ensure an enjoyable experience for everyone.
Gakenia Njenga can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.