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Guide to Perfecting Princetoween

After the horrifying tribulations of midterms week, Princetoween is a cathartic experience for the undergraduate community. We forget about our worries and throw on slapdash costumes to celebrate the harvest in true Princeton fashion — by drinking to excess on the Street. Unbeknownst to many Princeton students, Princetoween actually has other origins than the pressures of midterms week, origins related to the spirits that inevitably accumulate on a campus as old as Princeton’s. However, this Princetoween I’ve decided to shake things up by searching for these spirits. I invite you, dear reader, to follow along in my quest to have the ultimate scary Princetoween pregame with this helpful step-by-step walkthrough.

Step 1. You need to get yourself in the right spooky frame of mind if you're going to hold the scariest pregame of all time.The first place to go in your quest to dig up the spirits of the past is, of course, Firestone Library. With its labyrinthine subterranean structure and miles of shelves laden with the dusty lore of a forgotten age, you’re sure to find something to launch you on your own spooky adventure. It’s important to not have any preconceived idea about where you should go at this point. Instead, wander aimlessly through the shelves, keeping a look out for paranormal activity, like a mysterious cold wind beckoning you down one of the rows of books or the inexplicable sounds of children playing amongst the dead tomes. Once you’ve noticed these signs, you’re all set. Just allow the paranormal force to guide you to the eldritch tome that will really elevate the ambience of your pregame. For example, I followed a discordant although strangely compelling melody to an old journal that seems to be bound in some sort of animal hide.

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Step 2. Of course, one creepy text isn’t enough to make a pregame your friends will never forget, so next you want to wait until the witching hour and then head over to Princeton’s historical cemetery in order to find some decorations for your party. Gather any creepy seasonal props, like moss or cobwebs, and scare all your friends with your haunted yet tasteful dorm decorations! If you really want to take things to the next level, you can try reading some passages from your spooky sourcebook aloud to set the mood. I decided to give a poem written in an archaic dialect in sounds difficult for humans to pronounce a try, and it really got me in the mood for some killer interior decorating. I found this antique chest just lying in the oldest part of the graveyard and it’ll make the perfect creepy centerpiece for a beverage table. Remember to improvise and let your own discoveries speak to you!

Step 3. Listen to the terrible things emanating from your discoveries. The terrible, beautiful things. Speaking of listening, no retro Princetoween pregame would be complete without an amazing playlist. There are a lot of directions you can go with this one, but whether it’s an ambient, chilling soundscape or something more upbeat and shocking, make sure it gets your unsuspecting partygoers primed for a wild night unlike anything they’ve ever experienced. You could opt for a boring regular soundtrack for your bacchanalia, but you don’t want one background aspect of your party to ruin the creepy mood you’ve worked so hard to establish. That melody from the library is still going through my head endlessly, its incessant droning leading me deeper and deeper to a realm where no man has gone before, so I’m going to take a cue from that and stick with some ambient industrial artists.

Step 4. This step is more psychological than anything, but if you are going to be the host of your own Princetoween-themed pregame, you’ll need to practice your fun, holiday-themed hospitality. I recommend watching some old Vincent Price specials to get yourself psyched. Become the Host. You have always been the Host. At this point you also want to put together your costume. Stay away from cliches like the sexy vampire, the sexy Frankenstein monster or the sexy pop culture reference, and try to find inspiration for your look in the other authentic materials you’ve gathered. The Host must be anointed in the profane raiment. You won’t need plastic fangs where you’re going!

Step 5.At this point, if you’ve been following along with the guide, you may find yourself mysteriously misplacing things. Your school supplies might be moving around behind your back, your roommate might vanish mysteriously or you may even be losing blocks of time and regaining consciousness hours later in front of Nassau Hall with questionable stains on your hands. That just means your preparations are going well. No amount of water will clean you again. There is no return. There is no return. If you’re having trouble keeping track of the most important things for your pregame, just make a list to help you remember what really matters. Out of paper? No worries. Just follow my lead and write the list on the walls of your dorm. That way you can build the atmosphere and take care of your spotty memory in one fell swoop.

Step 6.The bad moon is rising. The time of proving is nigh. Soon all of your preparations will be complete, and the beautiful vision of your ancient masters will be realized. When the stars are extinguished, the old lords will rise again. Follow the 28th into the crypts of steam. You will know what to do.

Step 7.

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Step 8. No Princetoween pregame is complete without some fun, festive snacks. Crush up Oreos and mix in some gummy worms to make some spooky graveyard dessert pies! For a college update on the classic recipe, saturate the worms with cheap vodka! If you have the time, try to pick up some pasta and grapes. You can call them intestines and eyeballs and serve them to your guests in the dark for a scary, healthy surprise!

The Master demands flesh.

Step 9. MOUTHS WITHOUT EYES IN THE SCREAMING NIGHT. THE FLESH IS WEAK BUT THE STEAM IS WILLING. PASS THROUGH FITZRANDOLPH GATE. JOURNEY TO YOUR MASTER’S HOME. YOUR DESTINY IS UPON YOU AND YOU WILL BE REWARDED WITH EXQUISITE SUFFERING FOR YOUR SERVICE. THE 28th RISES BENEATH THE BAD MOON. THERE IS NO RETURN.

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Well, there you have it. Follow these steps and you and your friends will be sure to take the Street by storm this Princetoween. Happy Haunting!

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