PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — At the stroke of 12 on Monday, Oct. 31, Brown University organist and Distinguished Senior Lecturer in Music Mark Steinbach sat at the University's mighty 1903 Hutchings-Votey pipe organ and performed the Midnight Halloween Organ Recital, entertaining hundreds of students gathered in costumes and reclined on pillows and blankets throughout Sayles Hall. Brown’s popular and atmospheric Halloween night tradition dates back to 1993 — and Steinbach has been the star of the show every year.
On Halloween and on the days leading up to it, a wide array of Brown community members — from President Christina H. Paxson to the Department of Public Safety’s comfort dog Elvy — flexed their creativity and collaboration in dining halls, outdoor spaces and more in celebration of the spooky season.
On Friday, Oct, 28, students, faculty and staff from Brown and RISD got crafty at a pumpkin painting competition hosted by Brown Club and Intramural Sports. At a “Chew or Treat” event on Sunday, Oct. 30, Elvy welcomed students and neighbors to the Ittleson Quad to enjoy candy and cuddles on a sunny autumn afternoon outside the Nelson Fitness Center. And on Halloween itself, members of Brown Dining Services baked a host of on-theme treats for students and handed out festive temporary tattoos.
During the organ concert on Halloween night, a costumed Paxson surprised concertgoers by appearing on the cobweb-draped organ balcony, reciting an adaptation of the legendary “Thriller” poem tailored specially for Brown while Steinbach performed the song:
Darkness falls across the Green
The midnight hour will soon be seen
Creatures crawl in search of blood
To terrorize Brown’s neighborhood
And whosoever comes to Brown
Without the soul for getting down
Must stand and face the hounds of hell
And rot inside a corpse’s shell
The foulest stench is in the air
The funk of forty thousand years
And grisly ghouls from every tomb
Are closing in on your dorm room
And though you fight to graduate
Your body starts to shiver
For every mortal can relate
To the evil of the thriller