After living at James Madison University for a few months, I have had a firsthand experience of what the campus has to offer. From an ice cream social to a Saturday football game, JMU has proved itself to be a fun and exciting learning environment. I feel even luckier for choosing this school the year that I did, because fortunately for me, Halloween fell on a Monday. This entailed that there would not only be a “Halloween,” there would be an entire “Hallo-weekend”. As a kid Halloween was always my favorite holiday, and now that I’m a student here at James Madison, I was able to experience a full four days of all the action that JMU had to offer.
Halloween is a significant holiday for JMU considering that students from most colleges in Virginia come to Harrisonburg to experience the one-of-a-kind JMU, Hallo-weekend festivities. College kids in Virginia mention JMU as the absolute best destination in order to truly experience the holiday. I had the opportunity to talk to one of my good friends Maya Deiss about Halloween at JMU. Maya, who is currently enrolled at VCU stated “We heard about Halloween at JMU month’s ago,” which I found to be intriguing considering she had her own college to be at for Halloween. “We had planned to come down for weeks,” she explained, I didn’t doubt it since I had received several texts from kids of different ages asking if they could stay in my room for one of the nights. There have been rumors circulating around JMU’s Halloween weekend for years, and almost every year the school seems to leave more kids satisfied. My roommate’s brother, Andrew, was one of the many students that came across the state to visit JMU for the holiday. He said, “I’ve been coming up here for the past 2 years to visit for Halloween, and it seems to only get better each year” Andrew had stated. I came down to JMU for college gameday weekend, and I must say, these two weekends were both up on the list for most exiting.
Halloween at JMU can be thought to be made up of five different sub-categories; costumes, candy, decorations, music, and getting together with friends. After participating in all of the events “Hallo-weekend” had to offer, a poll was taken amongst 20 people within my dorm, 5 students from each floor, to determine what students liked the most about their Halloween experience at JMU. After the data was recorded, 60% of the students that were polled said they enjoyed getting together and being with friends the most during their weekend at JMU. The polls also showed that 20% of students favored the costumes the most, 10% favored door decorations and only 10% of students enjoyed the candy aspect of Halloween the most.
From my experience, I found that spending time with friends was the most fun part of the weekend. I also can say that I had a blast pick out costumes with my friends. My future roommates and I walked off campus to the nearest costume store to look around. It was there that we must have tried and/or looked at several costumes each, exchanging the occasional laugh when one of us looked funny in what we had decided to try on. Overall this was one of the better bonding moments I’ve had with my roommates and I directly affiliate it with Halloween and what a great atmosphere it brings to James Madison University.
I also was lucky enough to receive a surprise visit from my parents in the middle of Saturday’s events. Even though they didn’t stay for too long it still felt nice to see them for the first time in a while. On top of that, JMU happened to score a record high 84 points in that Saturdays game against Rhode Island. With everyone walking around in costumes after a great Dukes win, they’re really wasn’t much more I could ask for during my first JMU “Hallow-weekend” gameday.
Some of the best memories came from the Saturday of Hallo-weekend at a large family tailgate hosted by a family friend. There were families playing corn hole, grilling food and tossing the football. That weekend, kids young and old, along with many adults, had dressed up in extravagant costumes to join in on the celebration of Halloween. I can personally name students that came into town to visit that are from a variety of in state schools such as; the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, VCU, Hampton Sydney, Radford and several more. It seems that no other college in the state of Virginia does Halloween nearly as well as JMU. It wasn’t until kids from out of state schools began texting me about Halloween that I noticed what a big deal it was down here.
I was able to meet a friend of one of my friends moms at the tailgate. She had two younger boys named Charlie and Zach. She described how they loved to pick out pumpkins at the local pumpkin patch, “Back Home on the Farm”. Located in Harrisonburg, it’s a great place for younger kids to visit. Despite the difference in age, many students from JMU often go there to take part in the numerous activities they have to offer on the days prior to Halloween. These activities consist of, a petting zoo, fresh fruit, carousel rides, and their very own corn maze. After listening to them that day, It was evident that they themselves really admired and loved the part of family time surrounding this holiday here in Harrisonburg.
JMU’s Halloween experience is unmatched. I find this time at JMU to be so popular because it is a fun experience for all ages. Whether you’re a student, a middle-aged parent, or are even still a toddler, JMU has something for you to enjoy. Ultimately, JMU’s “Hallo-weekend” experience is one that is welcoming and fun for the whole family to enjoy.
“Halloween at JMU is a multi- day “Hallow-weekend was one of the “Just come to JMU to experience
event that I would recommend better weekends I’ve experienced first hand”- John Derks
to anyone and everyone of to this point. I went to the game
all ages. There are plenty of and it made it even better that
things to do”- Jacob Nunn they blew them out”- Jacob Hall
“Fall Fun on the Farm.” Back Home on the Farm. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Dec. 2016. http://backhome-onthefarm.com/attractions/
N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Dec. 2016. http://i.ytimg.com/vi/N-SJRsuCllk/hqdefault.jpg
Woodard, Lyss. “JMU Pumpkin.” Pinterest. N.p., 01 Oct. 2013. Web. 09 Dec. 2016. <https://www.pinterest.com/pin/116601077826046187/>
Interview with Maya Deiss
Survey taken throughout Gifford hall