Every Wednesday night, Yale students young and old gather for a Bacchic celebration of grand proportions — the “Yale Wednesday Dance Party,” or “Woads,” held at Toad’s Place on York Street. This Wednesday, Toad’s Place celebrated Hallowoads — for which next week’s considerably lamer holiday “Halloween” is named. It incorporated the concept of the masquerade into the already debaucherous festival. Concerned that many of you may not be able to remember the details, I braved my first Woads ever to bring you every scandalous detail.

To prepare for the festivities, I consulted several well-renowned “Woads Scholars,” students who make it a point to go to Yale’s exclusive dance party every week. These researchers are famous for their specific expertise in anthropology and biology, i.e. studying the effects of alcohol on the body while simultaneously being pushed around in a writhing mass of some of the world’s top students. Speaking to an outstanding member in the field who, citing Section 30-89(b) of Connecticut’s Liquor Control Act, preferred to remain unnamed, I was informed that “as long as you have a costume, and you’ve pregamed, you’re set.” So, after doing some pre-Woads stretches and warmups (the drinking age is 21 years old in Connecticut, of course), I headed over to the illustrious Toad’s Place dressed in my costume as Bluegrass Salovey, forked over five dollars for admission, and entered what can perhaps be best described as Dante’s worst nightmare.

Interestingly enough, although I had been told by several Woadsologists that I needed a costume to properly participate in the festivities, a significant portion of America’s best and brightest were barely wearing any clothing at all! There were the DS kids, partially clothed in their truly inspired togas, dancing like they didn’t have an essay due Friday which they hadn’t started; the recruited athletes, who jumped at any and all opportunities to take their shirts off; and those who were simply embracing the inherently lovable impropriety known as Woads. Music ranging from modern rap to early 2000s pop, mixed by the preeminent DJ Action himself, blasted through the speakers loud enough to shake all the thoughts of tomorrow’s presentation out of the heads of these very, very smart people.

Upon entering the throng of people in the center of the room, I ceased to be an entity to myself, but instead became a part of the thrashing, hundred-limbed creature comprised of everything from the traditional devil to a costume that looked like the love child of Jack Skellington and Beetlejuice (aka Tim Burton’s next movie). As my consciousness melded with the collective awareness of the future leaders of America, I finally understood the cryptic slogan at the bottom of my favorite Wednesday email: “The Toad is hopping this Wednesday.” For when they say that the Toad is hopping this Wednesday, what they are truly saying is that the Toad’s building itself is literally shaking as it is assaulted by the rhythmic, and oftentimes questionable, dancing of Yalies. Also, they’re saying it’s going to be a fun time. And it was — so much so that I forgot about the prizes for best costumes that were advertised in the email, and were definitely not given out — because let’s face it, Bluegrass Salovey would have won hands down.

“I go to Woads to sing and dance my heart out. Tonight, I accomplished that,” said Tommy Martin ‘21. I for one can’t wait for the next costumed Woads. Purim, anyone?

Jake Kalodner | jake.kalodner@yale.edu