Halloween Happenings in and around Lynn Hall Showcase the “Spirit” of Purdue Veterinary Medicine

Friday, November 10, 2023

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Canine Educators group photo
Nearly 30 costumed Canine Educators and their student handlers gathered for a group photo before embarking on their Halloween Parade route through the Purdue campus Friday, October 27.

Spooky scenes at the end of October made it clear that Halloween was having its annual impact on the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine, all in fun, of course! Several special events and activities, along with creative costuming, provided a fitting, festive Halloween flavor in and around the college. From caped canines to a troupe of minions led by Gru, to devilishly delectable Halloween-themed desserts, to designer pumpkins, there was something for everyone who wanted to get into the Halloween spirit.

Canine Educators walking their parade route through Memorial Mall on campus
Decked out in their festive Halloween costumes, the Canine Educators were quite the attention-getters as they made their way around Memorial Mall.

The events kicked off with the annual Canine Educators Halloween Parade Friday, October 27, complete with costumed canines that first had their photos taken in the Canine Educators Photo Booth, so faculty, staff, and students would be able to vote for their favorite caped canine in the costume contest. Then the team of nearly 30 dogs and their student handlers, many of whom also were in costumes, gathered for a group photo in front of a fun but spooky skeleton backdrop outside of Lynn Hall. Next, the students and their canines headed off, following the annual parade route, which led from the Continuum sculpture, up Marsteller Street, and then around the Memorial Mall by Stewart Center before returning to the veterinary college via South University Street.

The dogs drew accolades from passersby, and enjoyed the extra attention that their gala outfits generated. The students also had candy to share with onlookers. The week following, votes were cast for the best costumes. After the more than 300 responses to the poll were tallied, the winners were announced:

  • Top prize in the Solo Costume category was Paula, who went as a stick of butter.
  • Second and third place Solo Costume winners were Rose, who dressed as a rose, and Freya, who went as Princess Peach.
  • The winners of the Group Costume category were the Super Mario Bros., including Spike as Mario, Luigi as Luigi, Freya as Princess Peach, and Paul as Bowser.
  • Second place in the Group Costume category went to the pasta boys, Rotini and Ziti.

“Thank you all for your support of the Halloween Parade and the costume contest this year,” said second-year veterinary student Elliot Westrich, who handled the release of the Costume Contest voting results.  “These events wouldn’t happen without the support of the awesome PVM family, and we can’t thank you enough for cheering on our Canine Educators!” 

Despicable Me characters portrayed by Veterinary Nursing staff
As Halloween arrived at the Veterinary Nursing Programs office, so did Gru and his gang of minions! Pictured front row, left-right: Mary McCalip, Omelette McCalip, Holly McCalip, and Beth Laffoon; back row, left-right: Jennifer Smith, Pam Phegley, Dr. Chad Brown, and Angela Arellano.
Students dressed as Dr. Brown for Halloween pose for a picture with him.
A group of Veterinary Nursing students stole the show when they showed-up imitating Dr. Brown’s penchant for wearing his glasses with the back angled-up – a sight that resulted in Dr. Brown taking off his Gru mask to reveal his true self.

Another Halloween Happening occurred on October 31 at the Veterinary Nursing Programs’ office, where Gru showed-up with his band of minions armed with bananas! It was quite a sight, especially given that the minions looked suspiciously like several Veterinary Nursing Program staff members, and there was a striking resemblance between Gru and Dr. Chad Brown, the director of Purdue Veterinary Nursing Programs. In fact, in a stunning coincidence, whenever Gru was present, Dr. Brown was nowhere to be found! That raised the question, “Are they one and the same?!” The mystery was solved when several veterinary nursing students came by. Reflecting Dr. Brown’s influence as a mentor, they were wearing their glasses just like he does – tilted up in the back instead of resting on the ears. One of the students also wore a bald cap for extra effect. This sight prompted Dr. Brown to take off his Gru mask for a photo op.

Bri holds up her award and a cake pop
Bri Kerr, RVT won first place for design in the Diagnostic Imaging Halloween Bake-off for her Cauldron Cake Pops.

Halloween enthusiasts with a culinary bent, and perhaps a sweet tooth as well, enjoyed participating in the Halloween Bake-off hosted by the Purdue University Veterinary Hospital’s Diagnostic Imaging Service. There were ten entries including dirt pudding, brownies, cake pops, cake, and cakey pumpkin bars, with enchanting names like, “Cauldron Cake Pop” and “Lavender Haze Pumpkin Patch.”

Lydia Trott BS, RVT, VTS-DI, lead veterinary technologist in diagnostic imaging, noted that many people struggled to decide which entry would receive their vote – the one reflecting the most skill, the one with the theme they loved, or the one that was most “Halloweeny.” When the judging was over, these were revealed as the winners:

  • The Cauldron Cake Pop by Bri Kerr, RVT, veterinary nurse in Small Animal Internal Medicine, took the top prize for Best Design. 
  • Second place was awarded to Dr. Andrew Woolcock, DACVIM-SAIM, associate professor of small animal internal medicine, for his intriguing entry called “Sneezecake.”
  • The Cakey Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting by Becca Riffe, technologist in the Clinical Pathology Laboratory, won first place for Best Taste. 
  • Coming in second was Dirt Pudding with White Chocolate Ghosts by Araynna Holland, RVT, veterinary technician of oncology clinical trials.
pumpkin painted black with a white skeleton painted on top
Winning pumpkin in the “Most Spooky” category.

And what would Halloween be without pumpkins? So it’s no surprise that the College of Veterinary Medicine also was home to a Pumpkin Decorating Contest, organized by the PVM Wellness Committee.  Pictures of the designs created by members of the PVM community were shared so votes could be tallied for the favorite designs in several categories. The category winners, by narrow margins of one to two percent of the votes cast, are:

  • Most Spooky: Skelly by first-year veterinary student Kerrigan Fleming;
  • Most Creative: Pumpkin Spice Donut by Grace Mulia, graduate teaching assistant in the Basic Medical Sciences Department; and
  • Movie Character: Penny Wise by veterinary nursing student Brooke Hopkins.

Congratulations to all the winners of these fun and “spirited” Halloween Happenings. And  you’re welcome for this story, which is particularly important because, by the time November 1 arrived, all of these scenes disappeared, just like any good apparition would!

Writer(s): Kevin Doerr | pvmnews@purdue.edu

Category: Our People

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