The recently peaked autumn foliage on the Main West Quadrangle will soon be festooned with hovering ghouls as Duke University Union and Campus Council step up preparations for the annual Devil's Eve like never before.
Junior Gabriela Borges, DUU vice president of programming, said the festivities will be "bigger and better than ever" in its second year. The expanded programming for the event comes on the heels of DUU's decision to withhold funding for buses to Franklin Street, which was a response to Chapel Hill's move to limit the annual celebration to locals this year. Duke Student Government discussed the possibility of sponsoring one or two buses to Franklin Street at its meeting last week, but no plans had been finalized as of Monday, said DSG President Jordan Giordano, a senior.
DUU's decision not to charter buses to Chapel Hill has freed up about $400 to supplement the on-campus festivities' original budget of $5,000, Borges said.
Though the promenade on Franklin Street has traditionally been the Triangle's top Halloween destination, Campus Council President Molly Bierman, a senior, said on-campus programming will provide an "exciting alternative" for students who cannot make it to Chapel Hill.
DUU President Chamindra Goonewardene, a senior, predicted that Devil's Eve festivities would have a big boost in attendance this year.
"It's on a Friday night-a lot of people will be on campus, and it's convenient for them to attend and also do other stuff after," he said.
Devil's Eve 2008 will feature free burgers from the grill, four kegs, a costume contest, a cookie decorating table and entertainment from Shooters II's disc jockey. Sophomore Alex Reese, a member of DUU's programming committee, said one of the highlights of the night will be a large-screen display of Michael Jackson's Thriller music video.
But Jackson will not be dancing alone-he will be accompanied by back-up dancers from two dance clubs and three dance department courses.
Dance Slam Co-president Katie Mahon, a senior who is coordinating the routine, said Duke's towering Gothic spires will set the perfect mood for the performance.
"The Gothic background at Duke is really going to make this performance creepier and more entertaining," she said.
Students can expect decor along the lines of fog machines, bright spotlights, theatrical-quality props and an animatronic Hannibal Lecter who will offer words of wisdom to students.
"There's not going to be little pumpkins and Christmas lights," he said.
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Senior Konrad Dudziak, who had never heard of Devil's Eve before, said he may attend simply because of the convenience of the location.
But many students said they welcome the expansion of Halloween festivities on campus.
"There's no reason why Duke can't have its own awesome event on the residential quad," Reese said. "We can have our own Halloween happenings on campus."
Mahon said she was also pleased to see the University taking ownership of the ghoulish festivities.
"With people being discouraged from going to Franklin Street this year, I think this might be a sweet way to make Halloween our own at Duke," she said.
And though the party may not match the scale of Chapel Hill's bash, Devil's Eve should be what Reese called a "fun night of dancing, eating, drinking and getting everyone in the Halloween spirit."