All three of the University of New Hampshire’s dining halls, Holloway Commons (Hoco), Phillbrook (Philly) and Stillings, celebrated Halloween this year with their first-ever “Boo and White Spirit Night,” a specially themed dinner mixing school spirit with a hint of the supernatural.
The dinner may have featured foods typically found at tailgating events, but it is not the first time UNH has gone outside its typical fare; last month the dining halls held a Harvest Dinner showcasing 100 percent locally-sourced foods.
“We began using a theme for the Halloween event last year when we introduced ‘Shrek or Treat’ as a collaboration with the theater department,” David Hill, director of dining hall operations, said. “We liked the idea of giving it a theme and decided on the ‘Boo & White’ Spirit night to promote UNH pride and connection.”
Though this dinner doesn’t highlight as many locally sourced items as the Harvest Dinner, Hill said the dining halls “regularly source about 20 percent of our offerings locally” and that the focus was more on “providing many of our guests’ favorite.”
Featured items on the menu, similar across the three dining halls, included mac and cheese, mozzarella sticks, BBQ rib sandwich, chicken drumettes, and tater tots to name a few. For vegan options, a BBQ vegan burger was offered.
Hill explained that this dinner, unlike other themed meals, stood out because it “is more light-hearted and fun and meant as a good mid-way semester break to regular menu offerings.”
However, the theme left some students confused; two student attendees stated they didn’t understand what the theme had to do with Halloween; one of them said they missed the food from the “Shrek” themed dinner from the year prior.
“I am enjoying the dinner, I am. I’m not impressed, but I am enjoying it,” junior music performance major Camden Ward said about his dinner at Philbrook Dining Hall. “I think it’s just a good hearty meal in general, but in prior years, I remember being ‘wowed’ by the desserts and everything from the Halloween themed dinner.”
Ward added that the dinner was one he “could get at home,” but was unsure what the theme was supposed to be.
Theme aside, however, Ward said the food, especially the Brussel sprouts, were “hands down so good,” with the chili “being a nice touch” and the mozzarella sticks “better than Wild Kitty,” (the nickname of Wildcatessen, a delicatessen located near Stoke Hall).
“I think it’s too reminiscent of the harvest dinner,” Ward said. “I think having more ‘spooky’ appetizers and/or deserts would be a much more enjoyable experience.”
To expand on that spookiness, Christine Verrill, an undeclared first-year student, said that she feels like the theme was “so random,” adding that the food, particularly her mac & cheese, was “the same thing [as normal] but named differently.”
Opinions aside, the theme put on by the dining hall aimed to foster school spirit when UNH’s two biggest sports, football and hockey, overlap in what Hil