A Spook-tacular Season around the CSU

A Spook-tacular Season Around the CSU​

The creepiest holiday of the year has crawled onto the calendar. So don your most devilish duds and check out these fun-filled events at our campuses.​


As the days get chillier and the nights grow longer, there’s a sudden stillness in the air. Halloween is upon us with its celebration of all things creepy. Our current traditions of trick-or-treating and dressing up originated from the Celtic harvest festival Samhain. It was thought that the barrier between the living and the dead was most thin at the end of summer, and people would wear costumes to blend in with roaming ghosts or leave treats to satisfy spirits. Whether you believe in folklore or just like an excuse to wear a funny or terrifying mask, CSU campuses offer a variety of events to get you in the mood for a truly spook-tacular season​.

Performers dress in traditional Dia de los Muertos attire  


This annual event at CSULB, hosted by Associated Students, Inc., features the work of students who decorate the venue in traditional Día décor, including ofrendas (altars honoring deceased friends and relatives), beautifully decorated skulls, flowers, candy and more. “We often provide free arts and crafts, tacos, beans and rice and bring out traditional Mexican dancers and mariachi singers to join in on the festivities,” says Parker Chalmers, ASI Beach Pride Events coordinator. “We try to make this event as educational and entertaining as possible. Our goal is to teach students about what Día de los Muertos is, especially those who might not be aware of the tradition, while at the same time making sure students who celebrate the holiday are able to enjoy themselves, embrace their culture and fondly celebrate those they’ve lost.”

Wednesday, October 30, noon to 2 p.m., University Student Union, southwest terrace, free​​ ​​

A San Diego State baseball player dresses as Batman.


Who’s on first? It may just be one of your favorite superheroes or cartoon characters. The SDSU baseball team is holding its annual Halloween game, during which Aztec players and coaches dress up in full costume for a friendly scrimmage. Last year, SDSU partnered with the Down Syndrome Association, Dads Appreciating Down Syndrome (DADS) and Best Buddies for the event. Notable past costumes include a sumo wrestler, Buddy the Elf, Donald Duck and a Jamaican bobsled team.

Saturday, November 2, TIME TBD, Tony Gwynn Stadium, free

A San Diego State baseball player dresses as Batman.  

Music professor Victoria Neve stands at a piano.  


For nearly 30 years, SFSU music professor Victoria Neve and lecturer and accompanist Inara Morgenstern have been performing the "Scary Concert" the week before Halloween. Both pianists, Neve and Morgenstern play a large repertoire of pieces related to All Hallows’ Eve—what Neve describes as “scary, often very exciting pieces.” The sinister show kicks off with Henry Cowell’s “The Banshee,” played entirely on piano strings to summon the sounds of wailing spirits. This time around, Morgenstern’s daughter, professional singer and actress Ariela Morgenstern Wilson, will join the duo as narrator for the setting of Edgar Allen Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart." “We usually dress as witches,” Neve says. “One year we dressed as angels, and nobody bought it for a minute.”

Scary Concert​, Wednesday, October 30, 1 to 2 p.m., Creative Arts Building, Knuth Hall, free

A police officer explains the inside of a cruiser to a young boy.


Now in its 11th year, Safe and Green Halloween teaches families that sustainability and safety can go hand-in-hand during the Halloween season. This annual education fair brings together 600 community members from the downtown San José area for family-friendly festivities and learning. CommUniverCity spearheads the event, and more than 300 SJSU students participate, helping K-6 students to craft sustainable Halloween costumes. Students in the College of Business and the Department of Public Health teach mini-lessons on sustainability, safety, healthy eating, conservation and recycling. Festival highlights include a recycled material costume contest and an anti-litter pledge shouted out by all attendees. This year, a series of mini-fairs will take place at local schools in the underserved communities of central San José.

Safe and Green Halloween, October 25, McKinley Elementary School, 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.; Olinder Elementary School, 3:30 p.m. to 
5 p.m.; Horace Mann Elementary School, 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.; Grant Elementary School, 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.; Empire Gardens Elementary School, 3:45 p.m. to 5:15 p.m.; Anne Darling Elementary School, 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., free


A police officer explains the inside of a cruiser to a young boy.

A crowd enjoys a performance at Laxson Auditorium. 


If you attend a performance at Laxson Auditorium at Chico State​​, you might be in the presence of a theatergoer from another realm. Legend has it that there have been sightings of an elderly woman clad in a tattered robe sitting in the balcony. “For years, people have talked about being up in the balcony and feeling the spirit and seeing something,” says Dan Goodsell, retired production coordinator for Chico Performances. Daran Goodsell, retired marketing and publicity coordinator for Chico Performances, says she has seen the spirit on many occasions, but doesn’t believe her to be threatening. She adds that nobody was harmed in the construction of the theater, which was built in 1930 and is one of the oldest buildings on campus. “I often see the curtains up there—they’ll be moving,” she shares. “Whether it’s wind or she’s looking out of the curtains, there’s movement up there.”

Laxson Auditorium, 400 West First Street, Chico

A couple dresses in traditional Dia de los Muertos attire.  


The Día de los Muertos celebration at CSUN​ is often referred to as the “Chicana/o Homecoming,” because hundreds of Chicana/o-Latina/o alumni return to the campus. In past years, it’s estimated that between 750 and 1,000 people have participated over the event’s two nights. This year will mark the 38th year the celebration is held at CSUN. “A big misconception is that Día de los Muertos is a ‘Mexican Halloween,’” explains Gabriel Gutiérrez, Ph.D., chair and professor of the Department of Chicano/a Studies at CSUN. “It is significant to those who remember loved ones who have passed in ways that combine the tangible and intangible. This includes creating an altar with photos and a selection of items that foster memories, including pan de muerto, candies made of white sugar in the form of a calavera (skull), flowers and other items. This event is how we share and pass on this knowledge between and among CSUN students, staff, faculty, alumni and community members.”

Thursday, October 31, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday, November 1, 6 p.m. to midnight, Chicana/o House, free​

A couple dresses in traditional Dia de los Muertos attire.