Campus overrun by masked figures on Tap Night

It was a dark and stormy Tap Night at Yale, with lightning, masked figures, and a few superheroes that didn’t really save the day.

One of Yale’s oldest traditions, Tap Night marks the induction of juniors into senior societies in process called “tapping.” Tap Night often involves strange antics, including costumes, blindfolds, kidnappings and singing. And despite the pouring rain and a lightning storm, many juniors braved the conditions last night to gain places in some of Yale’s oldest student groups.

Yale and New Haven Police Departments set up a mobile headquarters in front of Sterling Memorial Library and placed officers at the entrances to Old Campus, there was a noticeable police presence around popular tap spots last night. The mobile headquarters were brought in at the request of the library to deter students from bringing alcohol into the stacks during the festivities while the extra officers around campus were simply a precaution, one officer said. The officer told the News at around midnight that there had not been any incidents.

The police did not seem to dampen spirits — many students performed their tap night duties next to watchful officers.

One group of students dressed superheroes boldly enforced a toll on people walking through the Elm Street Gate by Lanman-Wright. One victim passed through the gates unharmed and amused.

Around the corner, on Elm Street, one student dressed as a giant baby refused to comment on his choice of dress, but seemed very concerned about his mother’s whereabouts.

Others faced a different loss: a student dressed as a leprechaun stood in front of Sterling Memorial Library, passing out Lucky Charms to anyone who walked by. Once he gave away his Lucky Charms, he immediately started yelling, “No wait! I need them back!”

For some newly tapped juniors, the night inspired musical and theatrical performances, including singing, playing a ukulele, and Irish step dancing.

One male student, dressed as pop star Avril Lavigne, stood outside Durfee Entryway C for 45 minutes, singing the 2002 single “Sk8r Boi.” Many students walking out of Durfee’s Sweet Shoppe joined him in singing, but after a few minutes, the pouring rain drove them to their rooms, leaving “Avril” by himself.

“He was a skater boy, she said see ya later boy, I’m getting really wet out here,” the faux-popstar sang alone in the rain.

Other tapped students also tried to engage passersby in activities, staying in their society-assigned characters all the while.

“Come to Fairyland!” one wand-wielding fairy cried, as a student belted out Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” about 10 feet away. The winged junior declined to comment on the location of Fairyland.

At Noah Porter Gate, the Joker of Batman fame strutted towards Cross Campus past a sumo wrestler who stood guard silently.

“Want me to bust out a couple planks?” one student on Cross Campus who was dressed as a jogger in neon orange spandex asked a passerby. “Do you even know what free weights are?”

Amongst the singing and dancing, between 15 and 20 hooded masked figures silently walked through campus, seemingly unaware of the commotion around them, donning black or red capes and white facemasks. All declined to comment. But some costumes garnered more attention than others.

One student was dressed as a masked superhero with a pink light-up dildo strapped to his forehead. Behind him, a confused police officer looked on.

Other tap processes were less colorful. A line of students wearing coats and ties were seen walking silently in a circle around the Nathan Hale statue on Old Campus. Others sat blindfolded on the benches by the High Street Gate.

Tap Night usually occurs on the second Thursday in April, but was moved to a Tuesday this year in order to avoid Bulldog Days, which begins today.

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