Zombie Prom: A dead dance?

On Oct. 25, hordes of the costumed undead descended to the basement banquet hall in Muse for one of Radford University’s most time-honored Halloween traditions: the annual Zombie Prom. “Hordes” may be a bit of an exaggeration; in fact, many attendees (most of whom were self-described Zombie Prom veterans) remarked on the event’s shrunken size compared to years past.

A dead dance? Photo from Erin Clingenpeel.

The smaller numbers of freshman ghouls and sophomore spirits contributed to the awkward middle-school vibe that invariably plagues the early hours of any RU dance (or seemingly any organized social event involving people ages 13-20). Though the party officially started at 8 pm, almost a full hour passed before anyone gathered up the courage to hit the dance floor. When interviewed, it turned out that this pioneering crew consisted mostly of RAs; however, their boogie fever wasn’t a contractual obligation.

Sophomore Iam Gammarino, an RA in Moffet Hall, described his decision to dance as part of his dedication to the greater good.

“I’m one of those people who carries the team,” he said. Besides, “[n]o one else was dancing.”

Sophomore David Klein proved prophetic when he remarked, “The night’s still young, you know?” Once the ice was broken, the event heated up. People trickled in sporadically from 9 – 10 p.m., including a surprising number of older students unconnected with res-life.

Senior Ashley Giebler, when asked about her choice to attend a university-sponsored event (at least implicitly) targeted at freshmen, explained that she actually enjoyed such experiences. “I came for sober fun, and to dance with my boyfriend,” she stated. Dance they did — in fact, from 9 p.m. onward, the dance floor was consistently populated by a small but extremely active and engaged group of costumed caperers.

Despite the fact that Halloween doesn’t officially take place until the week after Zombie Prom, there were some impressive costumes on display. Particular highlights included graduate student Mary Cook’s take on Tinkerbell (complete with delicate green wings and enviable gold slippers) and a member of the catering staff’s vaguely creepy yet wholly delightful take on Slender Man.

As always, the event offered a solid, if somewhat limited, selection of free food: deli-style sandwiches, quesadillas, fresh fruit and a cake decorated in an appropriately terrifying style. Each table offered plenty of room for eating, spreading out belongings and experimenting with the craft supplies thoughtfully provided for the less dancing-inclined attendees.

This year’s Zombie Prom came up short of its usual scariness. For the dedicated dancers and dastardly denizens of RU who attended, however, it looked like a dead good time.