Halloween Costumes I’m Dying to See on Campus This Year (2021)

Hey guys! As we start nearing the infamous last day of October, it’s time to start thinking about who/what we’re going to be for Halloween this year! And if you’re like me, and it’s your first year celebrating Halloween on a college campus, you want to make sure your outfit doesn’t disappoint. The basic fits won’t do anymore—it’s time to start thinking outside the box and go full throttle with your idea.

But, thinking of a Halloween costume is never easy, especially one which will make you stand out and still be affordable (don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten that most of us have three dollars in our bank account). Luckily, I’ve compiled a list of costumes I’m dying to see on campus this year, and costumes I think will help you stand out amongst the rest of your peers.

Squid Game

I’m sure you’ve heard of the most recent Korean Netflix show that’s taking the world by storm. Not only is its popularity fairly recent, but the costumes are fairly simple to create. Players only need a green tracksuit, a white undershirt, and white shoes, and if you want an added effect, some makeup to look like cuts/bruises could really emphasize your Halloween game. You could also buy the masks online to be the guards or the Front Man. Overall, no matter who you are from the show, people will know what you’re trying to reference.

Low Budget Disney Characters

Like I mentioned earlier, I haven’t forgotten that Halloween costumes are expensive. And if you’re like me and like to wait until the last minute to get your costume together, Disney characters are always an easy move. Yes, they’re a bit basic, but I think if you put a lot of thought into it, the costume could come out really cute. Not to mention, couples have the option of being Disney princesses/princes, which could make for some adorable Halloween Instagram posts!

As for where to look, Ragstock has a phenomenal selection of everyday clothes that can be blended into an outfit to match a certain character. For example, I recently bought a pale blue romper there and was planning on wearing it for a picnic with my friends. But upon further inspection, I realized it would make the perfect low-budget Cinderella dress, paired with white sneakers, and a blue hairband. To me, costumes made up of clothes you’d wear outside of Halloween night are one of the smartest financial moves you can make.

Marvel Characters

If you haven’t been living under a rock, you know this year has been MASSIVE for Marvel. For those of you who may have forgotten, here’s the line-up of shows/movies from this year (both out and soon to be out) that you can pick a character from and dress up as:

  • Wandavision
  • Falcon and the Winter Soldier
  • Loki
  • What If
  • Hawkeye
  • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Seven Rings
  • Black Widow
  • Eternals
  • Ms. Marvel
  • Spiderman: No Way Home

These costumes could be a bit more expensive, and you’ll have to do some digging, but if I see anyone dress-up as Kate Bishop or Yelena or anyone from Eternals, I’ll be INCREDIBLY impressed. Might even ask for a picture!

Dressing up as Someone in Your Friend Group

Since I just gave you guys an expensive option, here’s another low-budget suggestion for a costume. I know I have a lot of friends with very distinct styles (something I adore about us) and trying to compile an outfit to look like them is super easy and affordable since you could borrow their clothes! It’s also a great way to get a good laugh out of all your friends, which might be better than wearing something worth over 100$ for one night only.

Political Figures

Even though it may feel like a lifetime ago, the 2021 election came to a close less than a year ago, and the memes from it are still a big part of pop culture today. You can never go wrong with a funny political stunt such as Kamala Harris’s outfit when she famously said, “We Did It, Joe,” or the fly on Pence’s head or even Bernie sitting with his mittens on. The possibilities are endless, and depending on what you go with, these costumes can come from your friends/parents/siblings’ closet! Super affordable and super easy to have fun with!

Just Memes

Enough said. Find a meme and do it. You won’t regret it.

Everyone in your Group does Different Outfits But You’re all the Same Celebrity

This can be a bit tricky depending on the celebrity you choose. However, if you and your group are willing, you can do your research and find a way for each of you to have a memorable outfit and have fun coordinating it together. I can assure you, on the night of Halloween, you’ll have the best group costume out there and it’ll be a great bonding experience for you and your friends.

Children Show Characters

For my last suggestion, I saved one of my favorites, which I also think people are most afraid to go with. Children’s shows bring nostalgia, and people react well to things they recognize. Plus, there’s no shame in loving and appreciating shows meant to bring happiness (I am very much a Miraculous Ladybug and She-ra and the Princesses of Power stan) and I think it would be great to see who else appreciates those shows through recognizing a Halloween costume and geeking out about it with you.

P.S: If any of you are thinking of dressing up as Chat Noir, please contact me immediately. I NEED to see that costume in person!

I hope my suggestions help and I can’t wait to see everyone’s Halloween costumes! No matter what you wear, it’ll definitely be a night to remember.

 

I Asked a Bunch of UIowa Boys Where They’d Take a First Date and Here’s What They Said

For those of you who clicked on my post, you’re probably just as much of a hopeless romantic as I am. Or, you’re just looking for some advice on where you should take that cute girl/guy you’ve been snapping with for a few weeks. Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered.

Since high school, I’ve dreamed of college dates—no parents, no curfew, and no limit to where we could go. But even more so, I’ve dreamed of a college date where he takes charge and plans the date for us. What can I say, I have expectations!

So, if you’re looking for some ideas on what to do, I asked a handful of first-year boys where they would take a first date. Hopefully, one of these resonates with you and gives you an idea on where to take that special someone.

“Pullmans and Yotopia afterward.”
-Niko

“Pullmans for breakfast or brunch.”
-Kyle

“Yotopia for sure.”
-Will

Downtown Iowa has plenty of places for a cute first-date backdrop. Inside Pullman’s, however, there are crimson booths, dim lighting, and great food—excellent for a romantic first date! And if you can’t get a seat inside, Pullman’s also offers takeout. So, you and your date can find a colorful picnic table outside or seating near the string lights hung up around Iowa City to have your meal.

And once you’ve had lunch/dinner at Pullman’s, Yotopia offers a handful of original, self-serve frozen yogurt! The interior has mini couches, bright walls, and is placed right next to the ped mall where a handful of benches, tables, and even a water fountain could make for a great place to relax and get to know one another more.

“Sitting by the river.”
-Kyle

“Any of the coffee shops. And then afterward, a walk by the river.”
-AJ

“Light dinner and then a walk by the river.”
-Max

If you’re looking for something a little more sweet and cheap for your date, coffee and a walk by the Iowa River is perfect! Just make sure the weather agrees with you!

There are plenty of coffee shops in downtown Iowa. Some of my personal favorites include Javahouse, Cortado, Prairie Lights Cafe, The High Ground Cafe, and of course, Starbucks! Sitting and taking the time to talk to your date truly makes a difference and makes the time worthwhile since you’ll be learning about each other.

P.S: If you are the one to ask them on a date, pay for their coffee. I can assure you, your date will go home and make sure to tell their roommate about it, and you’ll be rewarded a few brownie points for that.

“The Vue rooftop.”
-Dane

This one is a bit more expensive, but if you really want to treat your date, this place will do the trick. The Vue is a rooftop restaurant with some of the best food (at least I think) in Iowa City. The view of Iowa City after dark is breathtaking, matched with the string lights and the warm music, it’ll definitely be a night your date never forgets!

“Praire Lights Cafe. We can walk around and pick out books for each other.”
-Griffin

As a bookworm myself, I LOVE this date idea! Praire Lights is a super cute bookstore/café that can appeal to any reader. It’s a great way to learn about a person’s interests and books are always a great conversation starter. Praire Lights also has readings done by famous authors which could be just as fun as browsing the bookshelves.

P.S: If you’re on a date with a bookworm, if you can, buy their favorite book. Even if you don’t read it, taking the time to dwell on a small, special detail they shared with you, will make a big difference in their mind.

“Formosa, because who doesn’t like sushi”
-Julian

Enough said. Sushi is the vibe and Formosa can very much supply.

But most importantly…

Where you go depends on who your date is. Make sure you cater to what you’re doing with who you’re doing it with. As long as you take the time to think about your date, their needs, and their preferences, that shows effort, and the most anyone really wants is for someone to put effort into them.

I hope this gives you some ideas and have fun on those dates!!!

My Top 5 Embarrassing Moments (after only being in college for a month!)

Okay, so this title is a bit misleading considering I’ve only been at the University of Iowa for 25 days rather than one month. But, at this rate, I should have another embarrassing moment to add to my list before the month is over! How exciting…(insert sarcasm)

But before I get into exposing myself and my silly mistakes, I should preface that I don’t consider myself someone who is particularly accident-prone or slips up often. On the contrary, I’ve been told I’m incredibly organized, my time management is superb, and I have a knack for connecting with everyone I come across (very extroverted of me!). However, I’m still human, and just like everyone else, I have my moments. It just so happened that these top five embarrassing moments at UIowa happened within the first month of being an official “adult” and I’m certain there will be more as I continue “adulting.”

You may also be wondering why I’m writing a blog post about moments when I felt most uncomfortable, and the truth is, I like to laugh at myself. Taking myself super seriously, especially at the ripe old age of eighteen, is no fun. The mistakes I make, the embarrassing situations I endure, are a story to tell. Like the AJR song you hear twenty times on the radio, “A hundred bad days make a hundred good stories.” And what good are stories if you don’t share them?

So, without further ado, let’s go down the line.

5. Reading smut in public

Starting off strong, we have one of my favorite “college moments” so far. I should assure you that this wasn’t intentional and I was scrolling VERY quickly, trying to hide my blush in the coffee shop I was sitting right outside of when I realized what I was reading.

This semester, one of my classes is “Reading and Writing Romance Fiction” and our assignment that week was to read a romance novel (ironic right?). Anyways, I decided to sit right outside Javahouse (my personal favorite coffee shop) to finish the assignment and just so happened to be surrounded by a bunch of other tables and people who were also working and chatting. You can imagine my face, the sidelong glances I shot towards anyone close, and the rapid movement of my finger to quickly scroll through the pages when I realized what exactly I was reading. Not fun, but still a great story to laugh over.

4. The Condom Comment

This one requires a bit of background. All of the residence halls at the University of Iowa offer condoms by the RA’s door (kids are going to be sleeping together, and rather than trying to prevent something that’s inevitable, the university has taken many steps to advocate for safe sex, this being one of them).

During my first week here, I was exiting my room when I noticed a girl standing in front of the condoms. She shot me a glance as I approached and immediately turned her gaze downward—right at the stash of condoms. It was at that moment that I realized she was waiting for me to disappear from the hall to grab one and make a run for it. And in my mind, this seemed like the perfect opportunity to make a fast friend.

I strode down the hall, waiting until the girl looked back up at me to wink, smirk, and say to her boldly, “Just take one, there’s no shame.”

Immediately afterward, the girl busted out laughing. She held her stomach, eyes crinkled as she told me through her giggles that she was actually waiting for the RA to come out, not waiting to grab a condom.

I remember blushing, but I also remember dissolving into laughter with her. I haven’t seen the girl since, but if I do, I think that’s a perfect origin story for a couple of good friends.

3. Using the men’s bathroom in Daum (multiple times!)

For those of you who don’t know, Daum is one of the University of Iowa’s residence halls (it actually holds the Honor Students!) and is personally one of my favorite resident halls to be in. I have a handful of friends who live on the first floor and I often find myself there to hang out, watch TV, or on occasion, play Beat Saber on the Oculus (I’m a sucker for that game).

However, not all the dorms have co-ed halls, and the floor my friends live on is an all-boys hall. So, whenever I need to use the restroom, I find myself next to a urinal, musty yellow tiles, and usually, a guy who shoots me a very confused look when I pop out of the stall next to him. And every single time as I’m washing my hands, the follow-up question from the guy is:

“You know this is a boy’s bathroom right?”

And every time, I laugh and tell him I know. In fact, I’ve started looking forward to the question, because once I reply, the boys always crack a smile and laugh with me. Because what can I say? When you gotta go, you gotta go!

4. Sitting in a Rhetoric class for an HOUR before realizing I was in the wrong class

If I could give any freshman one piece of advice, I’d tell them to WALK THEIR CLASSES THE DAY BEFORE THEY HAVE TO BE THERE. Because even if you’re like me—stubborn and confident in your navigation skills on a campus you’ve only been living on for a week—you should definitely still walk your classes.

My first class on Monday was my Foundations of Creative Writing class, and I’d left with only 10 minutes to spare—giving me just a sliver of time to make it on the dot. Breathlessly, I hurried into Room 208, sat down completely sweat-slicked, and worse, actively participated in the discussion. I’d already made my presence known in the class by the time I realized I was supposed to be in Room 203 rather than Room 208. But by that point, I had missed my foundations class with flying colors and the cherry on top was having to announce to the ENTIRE CLASS I had been sitting with the past hour that I wasn’t supposed to be there and hang my head shamefully as I gathered my things and headed for the door.

Which brings me to my last embarrassing moment…

5. Crying on the lawn in front of the English Philosophy Building

So, after I raced out of the classroom—face red, throat clogged, and tears swelling in my eyes from embarrassment—I flung open the door to the EPB and started calling my Mom (I know calling my Mom is also embarrassing, but she’s my rock and the only person who can calm me down when I know I’m going to cry). Tearfully, I told her what happened, desperately searching for a private spot, so I could cry in peace. For some reason, I chose plopping down on the lawn as my best option (it wasn’t).

So yes, on my very first day of college classes, I cried on the EPB lawn in front of anyone who passed by and saw me.

And as awful as the experience was in the moment, I look back on it fondly. It’s become a great story to tell and something to take away from my very first day of classes.

So, in conclusion,

Everyone makes mistakes. It’s inevitable, and you’re gonna make them in college. In fact, college is a place intended for mistakes. That’s partially why we’re here—to fail, to thrive, and to fail again. It’s all in the day’s work, so don’t let things knock you down. Stand up and keep moving. Laugh them off. And put those moments in your pocket, because one day, they’ll make for an excellent story to reflect on when you’re older.

Why You Should Participate in the Iowa Edge Program

Hands clammy. Throat clogged. Blood rushing into my cheeks. Frantic breathing—each inhale weaving its way through the shards of my broken heart after leaving home that morning. All of this—paired with freshman fear—as I sat on the 4th-floor lounge of Stanley and tuned into my first Zoom meeting for Iowa Edge.

I don’t want to do this. I want to go home. I’m scared.

The urge to cry only grew with the homesickness.

What if no one likes me?

I didn’t want to do the next four days of activities the program had set up for us. At first glance, a Scavenger Hunt and Awards Show looked closer to a horror story than a cause for celebration. But for the semester hour I was receiving, I needed to participate. I needed to go out of my comfort zone and step into the light. I needed to be open.

And I’m happy to say that despite my reluctance, it was all worth it.

But before I get into what made my first Iowa experience so memorable, let me give you some background on the University of Iowa and the Iowa Edge program.

So, what is Iowa Edge?

Iowa Edge is a University of Iowa program which allows students of color, LGBTQ+ students, and first-generation students to meet one another and help transition them into college over a four-day course. During the four days, you meet with faculty who are designed to help marginalized communities, tour buildings with resources available for students at a disadvantage and participate in seminars meant to create an emotional connection between your peers.

To emphasize why the Iowa Edge program is so important, we must look into demographics. Back in 2020, there were only 961 first-year students who were people of color. There were 971 students who were first-generation, 69 students representing international countries, and an unknown number of students who identified as a member of the LGBTQ community (we can make the assumption this was few and far between). With a first-year student body of 22,405, these students paled in comparison to the whole. Walking around campus and finding people who look or have been through similar circumstances is difficult when these numbers are so small—hence why Iowa Edge was created.

So, by now you may be wondering why I joined the Iowa Edge program and why I was so scared leading up to it.

I’m half Chinese and grew up in a predominantly white town in New York. Throughout high school, I wasn’t friends with many minorities. The Iowa Edge program was an opportunity for me to make those crucial bonds in a place where I was already at a disadvantage of being from out-of-state. And honestly, I wanted that easy semester hour.

But after waking up at 4am, sobbing as I left my house for the last time, having my flight delayed three times, and coming to a place where my life was going to completely change, I was drained. I wanted to go home. I wanted the comfort of my warm bed and hugging my cats. But thankfully, I stuck it out. And because of that, I made what I hope are lifelong friends.

There were so many events the program hosted for us, but I’ll give you my personal favorites.

Surprisingly, I loved the Scavenger Hunt (except for the 90-degree weather!). My peer leader (his name is Chris) was paired with three other peer leaders and their groups, and together, the twenty of us went across both the East and West side of campus. Our peer leaders showed us multiple places on campus where we’ll have our classes, easy routes to take to save time, and my personal favorite, the cultural houses. Each one was stunning and equipped to help specific communities which are underrepresented on campus. They had couches for napping, board games, a kitchen, and even free printing. But overall, they are designed to give students a place they can find others just like them and build everlasting friendships.

Another aspect of the Scavenger Hunt I liked despite the walking, sweating, huffing, and puffing, was the chance to finally talk to some other members of Iowa Edge. We had so much in common—ranging from high school trauma to what Ted Talks we would conduct—and I was grateful to make some friends who seemed just as nervous and eager to meet me as I was to meet them.

Found this cute tunnel, took a picture, and now I don’t where it is.

And to add to making connections, one of the most emotional events we participated in was a seminar called “If I Had to Choose.” With our quad, we were placed in a conference room with signs on the wall saying race, (dis)ability, religion, social class, emotional/developmental maturity, and more. For two hours, our peer leaders asked us questions and had us stand under which word resonated most with the question asked. And then, students would recount why they chose the word and how it applied to their life.

For two hours, I listened to people revisit aspects of their life that brought them the most pain, joy, despair, and even guilt. They were vulnerable and let themselves finally talk about the things they had never gotten a chance to talk about before—and even better, got a chance to talk to people who were able to understand those things. For the first time, some of us realized we weren’t alone. There was a community right in front of us, and thanks to Iowa Edge, we were able to find each other.

During the seminar, I shared a lot about my life. I was able to peel away the protective layers I’d put up like paint and let the white canvas underneath shine through. It felt good to be around people I knew would understand my struggles. For the first time since I’d been in Iowa, I felt like I belonged. All because we were able to connect emotionally and dive deep below the surface level.

Making a poster for the Hawkeye Spirit Awards

The last highlight of my Iowa Edge experience was the Hawkeye Spirit Awards held at Hancher Auditorium. It was a farewell to the program with speeches, fun chants, and opportunities to take pictures with the Iowa River winding in the background. Through it all, like a car driving back and forth on a dotted line, my emotions raced between joyful and bittersweet. I was glad the program was over (the tight schedule was making my feet ache from all the walking) but on the other hand, still felt as if I could spend another week hanging with my new friends at Iowa Edge.

But my peer leader said something very interesting to me on the first day we were together, and I didn’t believe him until the very end of the program. He said—

“Even after being here four years, all of my friends are from Iowa Edge.”

In the moment, the twenty strangers standing around me were nothing more than that—just a bunch of strangers. But Chris was right, Iowa Edge has the ability to create long-lasting friendships. Even after Edge ended, I would always have a community of people lifting me up, supporting me as I stepped onto the first rung of my college experience, and cheering me on as I began the momentous climb up the next ladder of my life.

My lovely quad and my newest friends

So, if you are an incoming first-year student, and you feel as if Iowa Edge might be something for you, I encourage you to take the chance. Because the worse thing that can happen is a couple new friends, and personally, I think that’s a little more rewarding than a lousy semester hour!