As I sit here writing this article, coughing my lungs up and contemplating whether or not whatever I’ve caught can still be classed as Freshers Flu in late October, I have to appreciate the course of events that brought me to this point. Last week I found out that both of my lectures had been cancelled on Wednesday 1st November. Call it fate, or maybe just good luck. Either way, I had absolutely nowhere to be on the day after Halloween. Before this miraculous event, I had been considering whether or not to go out on Halloween night. But now I had no choice – I couldn’t let this gift go to waste. So, as one does when faced with a myriad of choices for an evening out in St Andrews, I set off for a night at the Union.
In the interest of full disclosure, I must begin by admitting that I have never been a big Halloween fan. Nevertheless, I decided to get into the spirit of Halloween this year (not literally a spirit – I ended up dressing as a devil) and celebrate. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect as previous evenings out at the Union had genuinely been some of the best nights of my life, but I went in with an open mind. The night got off to a good start when we found out that buying tickets in advance does indeed come with some perks: namely that we wouldn’t have to freeze to death in the queue – never a good look, even on Halloween. There really is no greater feeling in the world than getting to jump a queue, especially in the pouring rain.
Upon entering the Union, we made a beeline for the bar, bypassing several witches, pirates, fairies and one banana who was having the time of his life. The costumes ranged from thrown together at the last minute (me) to Pinterest-perfect and everywhere in between. My favourite costume of the night had to be the glittering girl with the words “this is the skin of a killer Bella” emblazoned across her white t-shirt, which delighted the 13-year-old girl in me. I must confess I was surprised by the lack of Barbie and Ken couple costumes, given the cultural phenomenon that was the release of the Barbie movie this summer. Instead, the couple’s costume of the year seemed to be inspired by Ratatouille, with one person being the rat and one the chef – bonus points for the couples who took it to the next level and sat on their partner’s shoulders.
For decorations, the Union went with the tried and trusted method: cobwebs, pumpkins and some bat cut-outs hanging in the windows. While simple, it was effective and helped to get everyone into a spooky mood, and is easy to take down the next day to make room for the Christmas decorations. I thought it was a nice touch to have the bar staff dress up as well, although I’m not sure that they would agree with me.
Heading upstairs we found the greatly anticipated photo booth… which was admittedly less photo booth and more photo-background with a photographer at the ready. Nevertheless, it was a fun addition to the night, and made for some nice and, I’m sure in many cases, entertaining photos. Walking into Beacon Bar – or rather muscling our way into Beacon Bar – proved difficult as it was busier than I have ever seen it in my time thus far in St Andrews (not particularly long, considering that I’m a first-year). It almost felt like a club atmosphere, which admittedly might be a bit of a stretch, but the space was packed and I could barely move without quite literally bumping into someone I vaguely knew, followed by the inevitable struggle to recall who they were and how on earth I knew them. In this way, it reminded me of the Freshers’ Tent – the Union, however, is clearly superior, having actual toilets rather than Port-a-loos. The atmosphere was very friendly and there was lots of socialising and dancing, which is all you can ask for from a night at the Union.
Beacon Bar had a distinct lack of Halloween music considering that it was Halloween night. Although there was no Monster Mash playing over the speakers, the mood was high, the crowd was lively, and it was shaping up to be a fun night, with the DJ keeping everyone engaged. Fortunately, the Halloween spirit seemed to have possessed Main Bar downstairs, and there were plenty of spooky tunes to get dancing to with friends, while the couches provided a place for people to sit back and relax.
Overall, I had a lot of fun at this year’s Fright Night, as the atmosphere was so friendly and welcoming, and the large turnout properly brought the Union to life. It was a great way to spend Halloween, and I think everyone who attended would be likely to agree… except perhaps the poor soul who pulled the short straw and had to mop the sick off of a couch in the Main Bar. I would recommend Fright Night to anyone looking to have a fun and affordable Halloween with more treats than tricks.