I usually despise Woads

To be completely honest, I don’t actually know why I opted to go to this Hallowoads when last year I was perfectly content actively avoiding it. Why the sudden urge? I have absolutely no idea. In my opinion, it’s just a sweatier, more crowded, more drunken version of the weekly debacle that ensues within the hallowed walls of Toad’s — with the addition of angel wings or glitter or fake blood that’s sure to make its way onto my clothes.

But alas, at 10:30 on Wednesday night, I began arming myself for the battle ahead — vodka out, eyeliner on, a huge white ‘S’ on the tummy, and a hat on the head.

By 11pm, the thumping ‘Top 50’ Billboard hits invaded my room in Morse and 15 minutes later, the laughter and conversation of what could only be a huge line of people had infiltrated my suite as well.

I knew it was now or never, and prayed for it to be the latter.

Unfortunately, dressed as an exceedingly well thought out grain of salt, I charged grim-faced but head-first into the belly of the beast, learning only with hindsight that I was ill-equipped for the explosion of noise and color that enveloped my entry.

The humidity that rained down resembled that of a subtropical midsummer’s day: sticky, heavy, dizzying. Its wake combined with the uncontainable wave of human limbs and backs attacking me from all sides left little room for breathing. Silhouetted Wonder Women, cats, and gladiators whirled around in my vision, accented by the flashing spotlights behind them. Everywhere I turned, I saw people I knew taken out of the context with which I usually associate them, and plopped, absurdly dressed (or undressed) into the pandemonium of Hallowoads.

With my suitemates serving as a human shield, I snaked my way to the edge of the stage — the only place I could fill my lungs with slightly less suffocating air. From my conquered vantage point, I could slow down the chaos unravelling around me and freeze frame the moments worth remembering: Christopher Robin periodically checking on his Piglet and Pooh, a massive hot dog bobbing his head to the reverberating trance music, Yale Dining’s cape shark swimming through the crowds, and two spa girls swatting away intruders with their flip flops.

Under the spinning lights, I held onto the promise of Bon Jovi that I knew would fill my ears come 1am: “Woah, we’re halfway there, woah, we’re livin’ on a prayer. Take my hand, we’ll make it I swear, woah, livin’ on a prayer.”

I grabbed my friend’s hand and she spun me around.

I marked my territory along the stage’s railing, surveying the tumultuous terrain around me and witnessing, on countless occasions, the guerilla tactics employed by my classmates. While some strategies inevitably failed and the circle of dancing friends would refuse to open up, the success rate in general was remarkably high. At least I can say I have evidence that Yalies take the “make love, not war” mantra to heart, so maybe we have hope for a less conflict-ridden future.

When the clock struck one, the pulsating unity under the throbbing lights evaporated. The adrenaline and music holding people together shattered and suddenly, the crowd descended into a madness only associated with the eruption of full-blown drunkenness.

As Toad’s ruthlessly spat out the people it had enraptured within its walls, I hung back, warmed by the alcohol in my system and the groups of happy friends swimming in my vision. I managed to climb into the softness of my bed with stronger convictions and only minor battle scars: a black ‘X’ embedded into my skin and a mysterious bruise on the back of my thigh.

My conclusion? It was exactly as I predicted: an abhorrently sweaty, claustrophobically crowded, intoxicatingly messy amalgamation of every Woads ever — the kind of situation that’s only fun at certain high levels of inebriation and only when sporadically attended.

The only difference? Amid the mayhem and cacophony of Hallowoads, the random guy hitting on you has bunny ears growing out of his head and for once, it’s not because your drunk self is seeing double.

Hana Davis | hana.davis@yale.edu