By Jasmine Simmons
Characters like Princess Leia Organa, Greek mythology’s Medea, and even Mickey and Minnie Mouse could be found in the Moon building Oct. 26 attending the Edgar Allan Poe Festival.
The event is an annual party hosted by the university’s chapter of the International English Honor Society, Sigma Tau Delta, and the English Society, an organization that gives students who are not members of the honor society a chance to participate in select activities throughout the year.
“This event came from Sigma wanting to get into the spirit of the season while encouraging literacy among the campus community,” Chair of the English department and co-adviser of Sigma Tau Delta Dr. Jacky Dumas said.
Named after the dark and eerie 19th century writer, the gathering is a 13-year tradition where Sigma Tau Delta members dress up as interesting characters, eat delectable snacks and participate in fun activities.
“The Poe Party is a get-together with my friends in the English department where we honor one of my favorite writers,” junior Kelsey Blecher said. “The party was great this year because everyone put more thought and energy into it.”
Many members of Sigma Tau Delta showed up in unique costumes. Senior English/history major Faith Forester came dressed as Zombie Barbie complete with tiara and open wounds. Forester created the Barbie-gone-grotesque image using fake blood, liquid latex and tissues.
“I like to watch Michelle Phan make-up tutorial videos, and I actually got the idea from her,” Forester said. “I really like zombie stuff. I took her idea and made it my own.”
Not only did members of Sigma dress to impress at the party, there were also a couple of canine companions imitating stars as well.
“(My boyfriend and I) brought our two Shih Tzus, Wicket, full name Wicket Chewbacca of Endor, and Eddy, full name Sir Edgar Allan Pup,” Blecher said. “Wicket was dressed up as Chewbacca and Eddy was dressed up as Ewok, both from Return of the Jedi.”
There were plenty of festivities at the party, such as the decimation of a pumpkin piñata, the oration of Edgar Allan Poe’s poem “The Raven” and the telling of ghost stories. Also, the honors society presented an award for an original writing piece contest to senior English/history major Maria Martin for a poem she wrote.
“My favorite part of the party was without a doubt when we took turns telling ghost stories,” junior English major Sarah Norrell said. “Whether you believe in ghosts or not, it is so much fun listening to other people talk about experiences they’ve had and getting creeped out.”
As an English organization, Sigma Tau Delta appreciates literature and hosts different events that promote and encourage people to take advantage of all that reading and higher learning have to offer.
Along with the Edgar Allan Poe Festival, the organization is responsible for Word Nerds, a literary game night, a book drive that spreads literacy and the UMHB Central Texas Book Club which happens every semester.
“We put on a lot of really fun programs,” Forester said. “It’s fun being a part of it. I have been a part if it for two years. It’s good to be recognized for your hard work in the discipline of English.”