Halloween is always a wild night in Boone. Late into the night, students in everything from banana suits to ball gowns stagger home from parties, horror movie nights and other holiday shenanigans.
Multiple fan favorite events occur annually for Halloween, sophomore Noel Harold said, including the Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band concert at Legends, the Pagan Student Association Halloween Ball and the Black Cat Halloween cover show. The new Horror Culture Club on campus hosted a movie night on Friday in the student union for the first time.
“I love it because you can go to King Street, Black Cat, the student union and then to a friends house all in one night,” Harold said, who dressed as a vampire for Halloween. “I am an introverted extrovert and no one can say they don’t like Halloween in Boone because there is something for every personality type.”
YMBFBB is hosted by The Appalachian Popular Programming Society every year, Stage Shows Council chairperson Kate Rhudy said. The event is a “safe and fun” environment for students over 18 to celebrate Halloween on campus when most local venues are hosting shows for people over 21.
“The intergalactic funk band is considered by many to be one of the best party bands to get you moving. They are very theatrical, they like to dress up and get the audience to embrace the moment,” Rhudy said.
Drummer Lee Allen said YMBFBB has played in Boone since 2002 at the Caribbean Cafe, now Boone Saloon. Allen speculates the band has played over a million shows in Boone thanks to his love for “the positive vibes that the area brings and the support for the arts and originality.”
YMBFBB played with The Travers Brothership, another Boone favorite from Asheville. Halloween is one of the band’s favorite holidays and Allen called playing in Boone for Halloween “fitting.”
“Boone is a special place for all of us since this is where it all began. We love feeling the spirit of Boone,” Allen said.
On the opposite side of campus in downtown Boone, Black Cat hosted their annual cover show and canned food drive, where attendees donated three to five nonperishable food items or $7 upon entry to benefit the Watauga Hunger and Health Coalition.
The lineup featured Boone’s most sought after local bands, including fan favorite, From Bears, and Rhudy, who is also a local folk music icon. The groups covered indisputable classics from Bob Dylan, The Velvet Underground, The Pixies and other beloved bands.
Devon Tuttle currently runs the “Nothing Cool Ever Happens in Boone” Facebook page and planned the event with the help of Black Cat.
“It is an utterly monstrous occasion with gaudy and absurd costumery, a preponderance of Boone’s freakiest weirdos, and delightfully unabashed unoriginal music from more bands than you have fingers, and an awesome, albeit macabre occasion to give back to the community,” Tuttle said.
Lead singer JC Graves, Kyle Donahue, spoke about his band’s contribution to the night or “perfect chill out music.”
“Generally my music is described as genre defying and boundary pushing. It’s really written to sort of act as the anthem of our generation, something to give the kids who don’t normally experience that. It’s also written to just completely chill out to,” Donahue said.
The band performed songs by The Cranberries, a recent discovery by the band’s guitarist.
“It’s not usually something I would go for, but at the time it was perfect chill out music, and that’s really what I wanted to give to the people at Black Cat on Halloween,” Donohue said.
The local band Sensation of Falling covered selections from The Kinks’ catalogue, including “You Really Got Me” and “All Day and All of the Night.”
The band members usually play originals at other events, they said, and challenged themselves to play other tunes amidst plenty of glitter, fake blood and freaks to make that made the night a really great time. The band members dressed as Ariel, Aurora, and Tinkerbell because “it’s not every day you get to feel like a princess.”
For some, Halloween is a night to dress up and attend concerts or listen to local bands. For others, Halloween is specific to belief and religion. The Pagan Student Association included an informational booth at their Halloween ball this year, designed for students who are unfamiliar with the Pagan interpretation of the holiday.
The Halloween tradition descends from the Pagan holiday Samhain, pronounced sow-win, junior PSA president Elizabeth Robinson said. In some Pagan traditions, Samhain is considered to be the start of the New Year, ending the harvest season and bringing in the colder weather. It is a chance for Pagans to celebrate their ancestors, Robinson said.
The group made a lot of their own decorations this year, including a graveyard themed photo area and a cave entrance with bats.
“What else would you do but come to a Halloween ball on Halloween?” Elizabeth Robinson, junior psychology major and president of PSA said. “There’s treats and people dancing and fun things. Why would you go anywhere but to the Pagans?”
Jill Thomley, the PSA’s adviser, said she is always surprised by the unique costumes she has seen in the past. There are often big groups of coordinated costumes, and she recalled one year that a girl shaved part of her eyebrows for a Spock costume.
“We’ve had people come as some very creative things and they seem to have a good time, so I enjoy seeing what people choose to dress up as because they’re usually really thoughtful in what they do,” Thomley said.
The group was originally designed for Pagan students to have a safe space to gather and discuss ideas, but the group also has an educational aspect for members who don’t identify as Pagan, Thomley said.
“We’ve had members who are not even Pagan necessarily, we’ve had Christians as members,” Thomley said. “It’s a place for people to talk about the idea of a non-Abrahamic religion. Not Judaism or Christianity or Muslim, or any of the traditional, biblically-focused religions. A large part of many of the meetings is presentations about different aspects of Paganism or the beliefs of certain subsets.”
This educational aspect is what originally lured Danielle Scaccia to the group. Scaccia is a freshman and an involved member of PSA.
“My family is actually Catholic and I had heard about the other religions and the different groups, but I never knew exactly how to study up on them and learn about them, so I joined to find out more about the different groups and stayed for the people,” Scaccia said.
Story by: Kelsey Hamm, Aleah Warner, Katie Murawski and Jordan Parkhurst