Treats and Tales at Milk Tooth’s Halloween Spooktacular

On Oct. 27, students and staff were invited to participate in a Halloween costume contest and open mic reading co-hosted by Milk Tooth and the Campus Activities Board.

Four p.m. on the Thursday before Halloween isn’t exactly recognized as a magical witching hour. But the editors of Milk Tooth, Bemidji State University’s student-run literary magazine, didn’t let that stop them.

Undergraduates Brooke Froehle Autumn Miles and graduate student Shawn Cruze along with faculty adviser Dr. Chad Abushanab arrived early to set the ominous stage (literally). String lights, pumpkins and strewn candy transformed the Main Theater in the Bangsberg Fine Arts Complex into an eerie yet inviting scene. And to ensure attendees were fully in the Halloween spirit? Spooky autumnal sounds echoed from a speaker and a fog machine misted the floor from behind the red velvet curtain.

The event began with a costume contest that featured a parade of eco-goth rock band members alongside anime and video game characters and Indiana Jones, among other creative outfits. Prizes were awarded based on applause. The top three winners in the individual and the group categories walked away with gift cards donated by local restaurants and businesses, including Fours Pines Books, Cyclops Ink and Hatchet House of Bemidji.

An open mic followed the costume contest. Readers were encouraged to share spooky-themed stories, poems or tales. Some read from published favorites, but most of the storytellers stepping up to the microphone performed their original work. The haunted offerings ranged from an epic poem recited (very impressively) from memory to short verses about a suspiciously missing arm to a tale of revenge bookended by a sinister joke and a campfire story about kids who were not… quite what they seemed.

Those who missed the event — or those who discovered new writers to admire and want to hear more — will have opportunities to attend readings sponsored by Milk Tooth throughout the fall and spring semesters. Emerging writers and designers are encouraged to join the board or to submit their creative writing before Jan. 31 for potential publication in the print issue released each spring.

All majors and students are welcome. Despite the name, Milk Tooth has assured us they don’t bite.