The Ghost Walk


Poem describing the Ghost Walk

Around the same time of year as Convocation, a very different tradition took place. The Ghost Walk, according to Delayed by Fire author Kenneth L. Mark, was “an attempt by Sophomores some night in October to gather secretly and to march through North and South Halls against the blockade of Juniors.” As such, the Ghost Walk was about many mysterious and dramatic happenings. While the date for the first Ghost Walk is unknown, its drama is captured in full detail in the 1924-1925 Student Handbook:

Every year for a week Sophs are mysteriously kidnapped and hidden away from their comrades. Sinister signals are seen flickering from windows late at night, and in the wee hours there will be Juniors skulking in the shadows of the ash-barrels. But SILENCE!

Finally the appointed hour and the whole Sophomore class creep out of their dorms, scuttle down to South Hall by any strategic way so that the Juniors do not catch them. Once there, however, weary and bruised, they don ghastly sheets, form a chanting line of evil spirits and try to enter the Junior dorms without breaking lines. As soon as the Junior Scouts see the first sheet, the alarm is given, and the hair-pulling and eye blackening fight begins. Although slightly sore in the region of our anatomical centers, we proudly strut around college the next day if successful, and if not, we will strike because you are sure that you ‘gave ‘em a good fight anyway.’


Cartoon depicting the Ghost Walk

Cider and donuts capped the evening, along with the burning of the most mysterious class secret. In 1925, the Ghost Walk turned into a Tug of War:

Some night, no one is quite sure when, the Sophomores will march, oh so quietly, by back streets and alleys, down to the field near Campus where the rope is ready. Then, after giving the Juniors just five minutes of warning, the big battle begins, and afterwards there are apples, doughnuts, and cider, for winners and losers alike.


Cartoon of the Ghost Walk, c. 1927

The final Ghost Walk was held in 1928. The Simmons News reported the end of the Ghost Walk in 1929, under the heading “We Rejoice!” Apparently, the Ghost Walk was considered an “outgrown custom” by the staff of the News. In lieu of the Ghost Walk, the sophomore class hosted a tea-less tea for the junior class, which was pronounced “immensely pleasing.”

The Ghost Walk