By Jhoana T. Merino-Martinez
The crowded, spirited and bustling energy of events past is drastically different from how FDU celebrated halloween in the age of the coronavirus pandemic.
2020 Knight of the Living Dead took place on Saturday, Oct. 31, and was put into two parts this year: a limited in-person gathering and a virtual dance party.
However, did this year’s event make history or will the ghost of nostalgia for events past loom over it?
The in-person celebration introduced new features like a trunk-or-treat, where participants were able to pick out prepared treats in bags, as well as games like can-jam, ultimate Frisbee, and bucket ball behind the Student Union Building (SUB), said Rashard Mills, assistant director of Student Union Building Operations.
“The students were able to kind of fellowship and partake in the backyard games,” he said.
The event was modified to fit social distancing guidelines, with several activities updated from past events, like last year’s SUB haunted house adapted to an outside setting.
“We tried to keep some of the same traditions held in the past,” Mills said. “We were able to whip out our fog machines, strobe lights and our black light. All of that was held to create the effect of the Halloween feel for the evening.”
Mills also said that DJ OneUp was hired again to entertain and stream in the virtual portion.
What stayed: DJ OneUp still sets the mood, now behind the SUB (Photos courtesy of @fdustudentunion on Instagram)
To follow state guidelines for in-person events, participants had tosign-up beforehand to aid in contact tracing. On the day of the event, students were given gloves and a glow-in-the-dark bracelet at the registration desk.
“That [bracelet] was just to identify who is part of our event from those that may have been parking or going into the building,” Mills said. “So, we were able to identify everyone from the gloves and the glow-in-the-dark bracelets.”
As an extra precaution, Mills treats were pre-packages and the giveaways were prepared by SUB associates wearing gloves and masks.
What changed: PPE donned and treats handled with care. (Photo courtesy of @fdustudentunion on Instagram)
Mills also reflected on the differences between this event and the other Knights of the Living Dead.
“You know, so it was a lot of things that were a little different,” he said. “We had a much larger crowd last year. Last year, our students were able to bring guests, whereas this year guests were not allowed.”
This year’s halloween bash included, virtually, the Florham campus.
“So Knight of the Living Dead is usually just the metro campus, but we had a twist, where we had a Dance with the Devils,” he said.
Overall, Mills said it was a resounding success.
“You know, they were able to partake and have a good time with us and that always allows an opportunity for our students to meet one another.”