BY TONI MIKEC
Although the theme of the 2016 SAIS Europe Halloween party was “Make Bologna Scary Again”, an obvious reference to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign slogan “Make America Great Again,” the event proved to be an overwhelmingly positive one.
In Giulio’s Bar at the SAIS Europe building, “Thriller” and “The Monster Mash” blared and the spider-web-decorated room was filled with black and orange balloons. During the party, the candy and alcohol flowed, and the students danced throughout the night, their worries about upcoming economics midterms far away.
The Sais Observer spoke with students Georgia Jewett (SGA representative), Konstantinos Koutsantonis, and Brynn Koeppen about their party experience:
What did you expect from this event?
Georgia Jewett (SGA representative and event host): I wanted to bring the student body together. Recently, we have gotten into the swing of classes; we had some community building activities that involved the entire SAIS student body in the beginning of the year. But, since then, we have not gotten together as a class. This is a nice opportunity to do so.
Konstantinos Koutsantonis: I am very familiar with the festivities, as we have similar traditions in my country (Greece). The only difference is that they take place in March and without pumpkins. It is quite interesting to see how Americans celebrate Halloween and it is a chance to try pumpkin. I have attended similar events at my undergraduate university in Athens. However, there were more people there than at SAIS. It was more Greek, louder and with Greek music.
Brynn Koeppen: I hoped to see a wide range of costumes and ideas that represent the creativity of our student body, especially because Halloween is my favorite holiday. .
What costume are you wearing and why? What category do you think it will win and why?
GJ: I dressed as Gretel and I have a peer who is Hansel. I honestly chose it primarily because it required no thought; my friend had a costume from Oktoberfest that she let me wear. I hope to win as best group, as Hansel and Gretel are a team.
BK: I dressed as Debbie Wasserman Schultz since the materials were available in my apartment. It was my only chance this semester to wear my business suit, and I found most of the other parts of my costume looking through my apartment for things that people left behind for future SAISers. I want to win most creative or a best group costume.
What was most exciting about the party, for you?
GJ: I wanted to see people and how they want to portray themselves in costume. A disguise has more meaning than what it appears to be.
KK: I wanted to forget my upcoming midterms and concerns. I wanted to forget about Macroeconomics.
BK: I am excited for a lot of the non-American students, as this is their first Halloween. I am curious to see what they came up with and what they thought about the holiday.
In addition, the event featured the SAIS Europe Halloween costume competition, in which the students’ costumes were judged by an impartial panel made up of Dr. Cesa, Bart Drakulich, and Giulio himself.
In total, there were four categories to win: best group, funniest, most original and best all-around. Many students entered the competition and Bart Drakulic admitted that every category had a “two-way or a three-way tie, but SAIS does not believe in grade inflation.” As a result, there could only be four winners.
In the end, the winners were as follows:
Best Group: Latin American dictators – students Gaston Melo Felgueres and Sofia Eirhnh
Most Creative: Clinton Server – mother of student Marijke Schouten
Funniest: Indiana Jones and Short Round – students Phil Kamper and Michele Choy
Best All-Around: Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren’s character in Hitchcock’s The Birds) – student May Jansem
In the aftermath of her win, Michele Choy reported being pleasantly surprised. “I came dressed as Pugsley from the Addams Family, but I was too uncomfortable,” she said. “I then met up with Phil who suggested that I would be a better Short Round than Pugsley. We then choreographed the fight scene from the second Indiana Jones film in two minutes and did our act with the music. It was nice to have a bit of careless fun, as it is easy to get anxious and think of school as a place where you go to the library. Mixers like this are a new lens on the community here at SAIS.”
Overall, the event was considered a success. Every student had the chance to have fun, consume some food and beverages, and relax from the often stressful reality of life as a SAIS student.
Toni Mikec is the News Section Head for the SAIS Observer. He is an MA student concentrating in Strategic Studies at SAIS Bologna.