Ways to improve your club’s Halloween mixer, based on science

Recent findings by the world’s top social scientists have concluded that the best way to have a “spooktacular” and “creeperific” Halloween party is to carefully engineer a series of absurd experiences and pair them with an unsettling, traumatizing environment. You can’t argue with science.

The first scientific step towards creating a spooky atmosphere is to defy attendees’ expectations. Instead of greeting people and informing them of the night’s activities, you want information available prior to be minimal and slightly confusing. This will help establish a dark and mysterious setting for the mixer, where no one knows anyone else or what’s going to happen next! You’ll know you’ve done a good job when your participants look mystified and agitated!

Mentally distress your participants by having your Halloween party completely different than your club’s theme/mandate! If you’re a Korean club, serve Eastern European food, play Japanese pop music, and watch Bollywood horror movies! If you’re a club that focuses on making relaxing environments that help de-stress students, make your event extremely traumatic and stressful! This shift in familiar stimuli will guarantee everyone is on their toes and mentally on-guard for a fun evening.

Your next step should be to create a sense of danger at the mixer because, scientifically, humans are more likely to remember situations that involve a lot of physiological arousal. We recommend a fun game of handshake murder — except with a real knife! (You won’t actually be stabbing people, because that’s sort of illegal; use prepared fake blood, and diffuse panic with a yelled, “It’s just a prank!” Everyone will then thank you for the fun experience and prepare themselves for the next activity.)

Now we want to create true fear. It’s time to exploit the psyche of the average SFU student. Instead of plastic spiders, scatter spooky Post-it notes about the room. Some examples of what to write are: “The promise of free food is a lie!”; “Andrew Petter is actually a spy from UBC, sent to ruin SFU by giving us a non-KKK-related team name!”; “The SFSS really stands for Spooky Friday Student Squad!”; “Completion of Calculus IV will become a mandatory requirement graduation requirement for all SFU programs!” Channel your inner Shyamalan and write!

Lastly, SFU students have been conditioned to feel pleasure when they’re being punished, thanks to the crowded busses, the fog and rain, the professors with incomprehensible accents, and the fight to enroll in their preferred classes. Recreate these conditions in your party’s environment: crowd the room; splash water on people’s faces; turn a fog machine on; and narrate everything in the thick and incomprehensible accent of their calculus professor.

Join us next time on “. . . based on science” where we breakdown the formula for awkward family gatherings at Christmas.