“Pumpkins in the Plaza” offers spooky and creative fun for Halloween

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On Friday, Oct. 30, the Muhlenberg Activities Council (MAC) and the Office of Community Engagement (OCE) offered an energetic and entertaining activity with the annual “Pumpkins in the Plaza.” The event was both virtual and in person to allow for remote students and students on campus to partake in the fun. The Halloween themed event was supposed to take place outside in Parents Plaza with the fall breeze in the air while people decorated and created their masterpieces. However, due to the inclement weather on Friday, the event was moved indoors inside the Event Space at Seegers Union with socially distanced seating and tables to allow for a safe environment. 

The in-person event was from 3-5pm but those participating at home or in their dorms had from the morning of Oct. 29 until midnight on Oct. 30 to send a digital submission of their pumpkin. Digital submission was extremely easy for remote students as they just needed to post a picture of their creation to Instagram with the hashtag “#MuhlenbergEvents.” A pumpkin was not required, so students could be extremely creative in what they made for the contest. After all, “Most Creative” was one of the four categories for the competition, along with Allentown pride, ‘Berg pride, and most spooky. The winner of each category received an Amazon gift card and the runner up got a Muhlenberg swag bag, so it was more than just fun. This competition aspect of the experience allowed for a more focused and dedicated response from the students and creators as they wanted to win. The pumpkins reflected this with intricate designs and extremely detailed drawings. 

As previously highlighted, the creations and designs during the event were impressive; one student utilized her pumpkin to create a sinister eye and mouth to make it seem like the pumpkin was coming to life. This was then topped off with bloody handprints, accomplished by the student dipping their hands into red paint and then touching the pumpkin. Another pumpkin had the design of the infamous poison apple from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, ready for its next victim. The creativity was endless as the pumpkins ranged from spooky to cute and the artistic abilities of the students differed as well, with very detailed designs on some and more fun looks on others. Everyone made great use of the supplies given, with a multitude of various paint colors and pumpkins to choose from. Just some of the colors provided for participants were purple, brown, red, orange, black, yellow, and green. The students also had a selection of brushes they would like, with the classic black foam sponges or the thin brushes as well. The pumpkins provided by Lyon Creek Farms were all unique and different with white pumpkins, orange pumpkins, long stems, short stems, and even a pumpkin without a stem. The possibilities were endless and the MAC/OCE assistants at the event encouraged everyone to experiment and have fun. 

In addition, the ambience of the event space was both inviting and fun with lively music and no strict start or end time for participants. On-campus residents could get there right when it started or even stroll in half an hour before it ended at 5pm. The main purpose of this gathering was to talk with friends and showcase some creativity. The music during the pumpkin painting featured all of the spooky hits, such as “Calling All the Monsters” by China Anne McClain and “Thriller” by Michael Jackson. The other songs also included pop music hits with “Levitating” by Dua Lipa, featuring DaBaby, and “Toxic” by Britney Spears, and many more. Some participants also showed up in costumes or other spooky attire, such as one student who dressed up as Baby Yoda to celebrate Halloween and the release of season two of The Mandalorian

The experience also provided students with a bag of sweets and treats, a nice way to celebrate the season and still get some candy. Everyone was a winner in the end thanks to these delectable treats. The contest will notify winners by the end of the week of Nov. 2, so be on the lookout for an email if you have participated in the contest. The in-person contest was a smooth and simple process as a member of OCE or MCA walked around with their phone and took a picture of everyone’s pumpkins. Participants didn’t have to worry about leaving their pumpkins in the space to be judged and not being able to bring them back to their dorms. Allison Rutyna ’23 and Hannah Verdun ’24, members of OCE, said, “We received about twenty submissions from both on and off-campus students, and plan to announce the winners very soon. We want to give a huge thank you to the Muhlenberg Activities Council for teaming up with us and to all the students who participated for sharing their creativity and artistic talents with us.” It was a healthy competition thanks to a very trusting and welcoming partnership and the creativity of participants. Overall, MAC and the OCE put together a ‘spooktacular’ event with their annual “Pumpkins in the Plaza,” even without its usual setting in the plaza. The pumpkin designs created by students were innovative and fun thanks to a very welcoming atmosphere and an encouraging competition. It was an energetic celebration of Halloween and provided an opportunity for everyone to get involved, whether they are residing on or off campus.

As previously highlighted, the creations and designs during the event were impressive; one student utilized her pumpkin to create a sinister eye and mouth to make it seem like the pumpkin was coming to life. This was then topped off with bloody handprints, accomplished by the student dipping their hands into red paint and then touching the pumpkin. Another pumpkin had the design of the infamous poison apple from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, ready for its next victim. The creativity was endless as the pumpkins ranged from spooky to cute and the artistic abilities of the students differed as well, with very detailed designs on some and more fun looks on others. Everyone made great use of the supplies given, with a multitude of various paint colors and pumpkins to choose from. Just some of the colors provided for participants were purple, brown, red, orange, black, yellow, and green. The students also had a selection of brushes they would like, with the classic black foam sponges or the thin brushes as well. The pumpkins provided by Lyon Creek Farms were all unique and different with white pumpkins, orange pumpkins, long stems, short stems, and even a pumpkin without a stem. The possibilities were endless and the MAC/OCE assistants at the event encouraged everyone to experiment and have fun. 

 In addition, the ambience of the event space was both inviting and fun with lively music and no strict start or end time for participants. On-campus residents could get there right when it started or even stroll in half an hour before it ended at 5pm. The main purpose of this gathering was to talk with friends and showcase some creativity. The music during the pumpkin painting featured all of the spooky hits, such as “Calling All the Monsters” by China Anne McClain and “Thriller” by Michael Jackson. The other songs also included pop music hits with “Levitating” by Dua Lipa, featuring DaBaby, and “Toxic” by Britney Spears, and many more. Some participants also showed up in costumes or other spooky attire, such as one student who dressed up as Baby Yoda to celebrate Halloween and the release of season two of The Mandalorian

The experience also provided students with a bag of sweets and treats, a nice way to celebrate the season and still get some candy. Everyone was a winner in the end thanks to these delectable treats. The contest will notify winners by the end of the week of Nov. 2, so be on the lookout for an email if you have participated in the contest. The in-person contest was a smooth and simple process as a member of OCE or MCA walked around with their phone and took a picture of everyone’s pumpkins. Participants didn’t have to worry about leaving their pumpkins in the space to be judged and not being able to bring them back to their dorms. Allison Rutyna ’23 and Hannah Verdun ’24, members of OCE, said, “We received about twenty submissions from both on and off-campus students, and plan to announce the winners very soon. We want to give a huge thank you to the Muhlenberg Activities Council for teaming up with us and to all the students who participated for sharing their creativity and artistic talents with us.” It was a healthy competition thanks to a very trusting and welcoming partnership and the creativity of participants. Overall, MAC and the OCE put together a ‘spooktacular’ event with their annual “Pumpkins in the Plaza,” even without its usual setting in the plaza. The pumpkin designs created by students were innovative and fun thanks to a very welcoming atmosphere and an encouraging competition. It was an energetic celebration of Halloween and provided an opportunity for everyone to get involved, whether they are residing on or off campus.

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Johnny '24 is a Theatre and Media and Communication double major at 'Berg. He loves to highlight the voices of artists across campus and to showcase the wide variety of events at Muhlenberg. He likes to think he is funny, but that is up for debate.

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