Where the wild things are

“Honey, you missed a gorilla!”

“Hey, is that Lady Godiva … naked?!”

Monkeys, Smurfs and transvestites were spotted on and around campus Friday. GW students may be accustomed to diversity, but Halloween opened their horizons even wider.

Halloween in D.C. is no suburban celebration. GW students hail from all over the country – all over the world, in fact. And small towners easily could be shocked on this crazy holiday by people dressed in whips and chains. To say nothing of the drag races in Dupont Circle.

Freaking out

Last week buzzed with conversation of where to spend All Hallows Eve; the flood of parties and events made choosing tricky. There were dozens of clubs pumping and private parties galore. The option of “people watching” in Georgetown or Dupont Circle also was quite tempting.

Halloween spirit bubbled over campus Friday. Students itched to get out of class and hit the streets. Some wore costumes to class – a parade of Smurfs wove through the Marvin Center.

Camaraderie was in the autumn air. College students usually meet each other wearing their adult masks. Halloween offered an opportunity to be children together.

“Halloween is so much fun here,” Thurston Hall roommates Whitney Landa and Molly Harrington said. “At home we have outgrown it. But here it is as much fun for us as it is for the kids.” They said they waited in a long line outside a costume shop on 21st Street Friday.

Landa and Harrington said they were looking for something fun to wear to costume parties at the Spy and Zei clubs. They were not alone on the clubbing scene that night – dance clubs drew a good chunk of GW students. Some clubs offered as much as $300 for the best costume.

On Embassy Row

Other costumed Colonials trooped to Embassy Row to gather some tricks and treats. Mingling with the Metro’s rush hour crowd, students brought smiles to grim commuter faces.

Once on the Row, costumes streamed behind as students ran up the walkways of the embassies, craving sweets like children.

“I need candy!” Preethy Kolinjivadi cried as her group hustled down Massachusetts Ave., heading for the nearest open door.

GW students met each other along the way, merging their giggling groups into one massive swarm as they approached the ornate embassy doors. Sing-song cries of “trick-or-treat” chimed throughout the neighborhood.

Many embassy employees were taken aback by the enthusiasm of the disguised young adults – and some GW students seemed dazzled by their first time on embassy property.

Students helped drape spider webs on the walls of the Estonian Embassy, to the wonderment of puzzled embassy employees. When an Indian Embassy worker headed upstairs to refill the candy bowl, a student dashed up the stairs in pursuit.

Georgetown

Other students were drawn to M Street in Georgetown, where they joined the droves of Halloween revelers. Traffic was stopped on both sides of the street. Horns blared, stereos thumped and necks craned to catch a glimpse of the colorful human spectacle.

Rows of security officers lining the blocks looked on while people danced, sang and strutted behind their masks.

At a glance, one could see Marvin the Martian, Merlin, vampires and Cookie Monster. One older woman dressed in slinky black leather brandished a whip and slapped rear ends upon request as her husband followed on a leash.

Ages and origins knew no limits on M Street. Students mingled with middle-aged people, and children ran underfoot. A group of air force members from Holland, Germany and Norway watched passers-by. The men explained that they are stationed in the United States for two years.

“They were going to have a Dutch party for us, but since Americans created this holiday, we wanted to have a true American Halloween,” Jurgen Looman commented, dressed in his Dutch fly suit.

“Lady Godiva is down on the corner, naked! I came all the way from Chicago to see that!” a man with a twirling white mustache said to his wife as they strolled through the throngs.

Like the man from Chicago, many Halloweeners came to Georgetown just to look around. “We just went to a house party and we came here to look at the costumes,” GW students Genevieve Byrne and Katie McGoldrick commented inside the Haagen Daz ice cream shop.

Metropolitan Police Department did not have Halloween night off. They covered the streets, keeping people on the sidewalks and directing traffic. At the intersection of Wisconsin and M streets, police shrilled their whistles, struggling to keep people out of harm’s way.

“If I had a whistle, I’d be the man too!” a Georgetown law student in army garb muttered, shark-finning through the crowd.

Rain did not dim the festivities and Halloween proved full of surprises. Students went to clubs, parties and trick-or-treated, reliving the fun Halloween brought to them as children.

Today the student masks are back in place.

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