“Okay, we’re leaving now,” my friend said on his phone. Seconds later, his eyes widened as he laughed incredulously: “What do you mean the party was shut down?”
It was 10:45 p.m. — just 45 minutes after the Scripps College “Halloween: Claremont After Dark” party was supposed to start. We were already in our costumes. We had taken pictures. We were ready to rage all night at one of the most anticipated 5C parties. It was going to be my first big college Halloweekend party, and I was genuinely excited.
But, before we had even walked to Scripps, the party had disappointingly ended. Right after the phone call, we were told it was shut down because people began skipping the line and saw this as an opportunity to knock down the fences. More accounts of what happened that night surfaced when the weekend was over.
The 5C Halloweekend needed a jumpscare warning. It was a wake-up call. We need to re-evaluate and debrief about what transpired over that weekend. The parties here are inaccessible and dangerous.
So far this year, two Claremont parties have ended earlier than expected — Monte Carlo and Claremont After Dark. After the latter, which was the 5Cs’ Halloween party, clips of the crowd getting sprayed by fire extinguishers started circulating the internet. Absolute chaos ensued.
Beyond Monte Carlo and Claremont After Dark, however, there must be a shift in the wider party culture at the Claremont Colleges. The statements released by Claremont McKenna College and Scripps administration addressing these party shutdowns reveal a much deeper issue: the disconnect between administration and students.
Let’s rewind a little bit. At the beginning of the fall semester, after Orientation Week, campus security would check for school IDs. For example, the Y2K first-year party at Pomona College did not allow other 5C students to attend, so they checked IDs. As a first-year, I never expected college parties to be this regulated. I understand if there are COVID-19 safety concerns. However, Claremont After Dark had an official capacity of 1,200 students — letting 1,200 people cram together at a Scripps lawn is not the most COVID-19 friendly thing. And the two parties that got shut down ended for reasons other than COVID-19 protocols.
When I initially heard that you needed a wristband to enter Claremont After Dark, I thought it was ridiculous. I became even more puzzled that you had to wake up before 8:00 a.m. and wait in a line of more than 200 people at Pomona College for a shot to get one of only 200 available wristbands. There was no way in hell I was camping outside for a college party on a Friday.
I question how much the administration knows about their student body. Of course 5C students will create counterfeit wristbands when there is nothing to do in Claremont. You cannot advertise a 5C-wide party with only 1,200 spots for the 6,000-plus students at the 5Cs, then be surprised at people storming in. You are creating unsafe conditions for students and being unreasonably difficult. It makes people desperate to do anything, from jumping over fences to making counterfeit wristbands.
If you expect students to Uber to clubs or attend other universities’ parties, that is impractical. With club fees and Uber prices, it is bound to rack up high costs. Even going to cross-campus parties can be dangerous, as possibly intoxicated students have to traverse across different campuses on their own. This is a health and safety hazard: What if a drunk student trips, passes out or gets lost?
Halloweekend this year could have been a blast — especially since we are moving back to normal. There should have been more than one big 5C party to distribute the capacity. Instead of hosting and promoting one party, it would have been better to have three or more of the Claremont Colleges hosting their own so that people could have actually had the chance to attend a 5C Halloween party. Yes, it would be costly, but this would prevent people from feeling the need to sneak inside parties.
As a student body, we must begin practicing community and holding each other accountable. From spraying the crowd with fire extinguishers to throwing items at security, we are also partially at fault for this situation that fostered an unsafe, hostile party environment. I understand that everyone wanted to have fun, especially after midterm season. Yet, I cannot defend that aspect of the situation.
In terms of community care, watch everyone’s substance consumption, do not be afraid to call for help and ensure you leave with the same group of people that you came with. Make sure people are not making unwise decisions because of the influence of alcohol. Many of us now know well the drama that can ensue due to drunken choices.
After a long week of endless work and waking up for morning classes, for many, nothing is more rewarding than partying. We are, unfortunately, not in Downtown Los Angeles where the night is always buzzing with nightlife and excitement. We are not a large state school with tremendous parties left and right. Hence, I sincerely ask us to change the party culture with common sense protocols and community reflections — so we can go to parties safely assured that we still have an exciting night ahead of us.
Zeean Firmeza PO ’26 is from Miami, Florida. She enjoys drinking boba, playing video games and reading.