Beware UF’s notorious night of decadence and full-moon madness.

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
((( )))

barbara hansen
stan badz (top) sandy felsenthal, barbara hansen (middle)

Welcome to the Halloween Ball (er-uh) the Halloween Festival.

byJayne Thompson and David Futch
Alligator Staff Writers
They came from outer space and were ready to guard everybody’s pot. Some stood in moot silence. Other pogos pogoed their phallic facsimiles and zapped each other with plastic pistols. One was even framed.
But underneath it all, they were mostly UF students and a few local folks braced for a bewitching night of perverted craziness and high times in the 11th annual Halloween Festival (Ball), or whatever.
The threat of rain didn’t dampen the spirits of the creepy crawlers and super gallactic oddities roaming the Flavet Bandshell near Fraternity Row, where New Wave rockers and the Firesign Theatre comedy team of Proctor and Bergman entertained a revved up crowd.
Propped up by a cooler of beer, Mr. Dick, a 9-foot phallic at full erection and about5-foot when sitting and relaxed, described himself as something like Mr. Bill, but with a little more to it.
“I’m having a wonderful tie drinking beer from a straw,” Mr. Dick said.
On the fringes of the bandshell, the Cosmic Sinse Patrol pledged to protect the world’s pot, and watched Mr. Dick as he made a full erection to his feet and said. “The only thing he could fuck is a whale.”
Then the Sinse Patrol, wearing five suits and silver buttons, cocked their plastic pistols and snuffed the Horny Alien, a tin-foil space invader type character.
“Mine’s inter galactic. It shoots lasers,” the Horny Alien shouted wiggling his tin foil penis. “Tssss! Tssss!”
Asked how he was enjoying the Halloween Festival, Mr. Frame said, “I’ve been framed.” The identity of the frame up was a Shands administrator who wished to remain anonymous.
Pogoing to the beat of “I’ve Got to Get Organized,” Shithead, wrapped in a brown paper bags and toilet paper, said he had only two words for the ball. “It’s Great.”
Mark Nichols, a.k.a. H.G. Wells, a grotesque space creature, pointed to an empty bottle of Black Velvet whiskey on the ground and blamed it on his gruesome transformation from humanoid to monster.

(to be cont’d)

“American Girl”
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
((( )))

alligator file

Balls of Old
Despite UF president A.A. Murphree’s class of 1912’s opening speech warning new students to “join the Y.M.C.A., attend church regularly, and DO NOT SURRENDER TO INSIDIOUS TEMPTATION, the Halloween Ball became a most popular modern era annual event, and influential in UF’s infamous “party school” reputation. Top 10 on Playboy magazine’s list (1975-1985).

by David Dahl
Alligator Staff Writer
It was a ball, just like any other Halloween Ball. People partied, co-eds caroused, and students stripped naked.
One UF official, new to such activity, and quite curious, decided to get a good look at what he had heard described as “organized decadence.”
He climbed atop a Hertz Rental truck parked at the Plaza of the Americas. Before him was the hodgepodge of costumed party goers — ghosts, goblins, and some less traditional ghouls.
But that wasn’t all. On the hood of the very same truck, a couple performed the most ancient of all acts —  in the official’s words, “plowing away,” as a crowd of onlookers cheered on.
It was the ball that broke the Ball’s back.
“Decadence” simply had gotten too prevalent at the event administrators decided a few years later. Too many drug overdoses. Too much vandalism. Too many outside trouble makers.
In 1978 the Ball was banned. The statue of Albert Murphree would be urinated upon no more. Shrubbery on the Plaza of the America’s would no longer be trampled.
No more Halloween happiness allowed, the administrators said.
Oh yes we will, the students replied in a 1979 Spring referendum vote asking for the return of the Ball.
A compromise between the two groups was struck. The groups decided the $150,000 Student Government bandshell would have quite a grand opening — the newly named “Halloween Festival.” The event would be held on a week night and would be away from the staid sanctity of UF’s oldest buildings. Most of all, it would be toned down, the administrators ordered.
The event had survived again.
Since its inception in 1970, the Halloween Ball, Festival, or whatever you call it, has seen four sites, changed sponsors from year to year, and even been kicked out of Gainesville.
Yet it endures.
Subterranean Circus Shop owner Bill Killeen and the Rose Community Center sponsored the first and second Annual Balls in 1970 and 1971, until it moved to the The Plaza of The America (on-campus) in 1972. >>>

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
Damn The Torpedos
1979 “Casa Dega” (sic) is a song about a small town, south of Gainesville and west of Daytona Beach, populated by a number of psychics, who do readings in their homes for all those curious visitors who dare.
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>>> Back then, the Ball started late, around midnight, and featured local Rock N Roll bands, including Mudcrutch, Tom Petty’s band before The Heartbreakers.

The Ball, with its odd costumes and dope-smoking revelers, remained at the Plaza of the America’s until 1973, Killeen said. That year, the Ball was moved to what then was known as Santa Fe Junior College, and held on Nov 3. In 1974, the Ball again was moved — this time to Archer, where Michael Murphy appeared and played his mellow rock.

The thousands of people and cars overwhelmed the  tiny town southwest of Gainesville, and forced the Ball back to Hogtown in 1975.
The Plaza of the Americas, after two years without student “watering,” received the Ball’s return with open arms … and so did the partiers — in excess. Sometime after The Climax Blues Band played, a $550 tape player was stolen from Student Government, a number of drunk and disorderly arrests were made, and two people were admitted to Shands Teaching Hospital with minor injuries.
The trouble angered many in the administration, but the Ball survived to rage another day.
In 1976, Commander Cody and sheets of rain came to the Plaza for the event. Students threw firecrackers at Cody, Killeen remembers, but the performer, unphased, continued to play.
“He probably got off on it,” Killeen said.
So did the students. The ball returned again to the Plaza in 1977. The Dixie Desperadoes and the New Riders of the Purple Sage played their brand of Country and Southern Rock. Notably, in addition to the thousands of UF students who had come to party, a gang of nearly 30 motorcyclists showed up, and, in keeping with the Ball’s decadent tradition, a semi-clad woman was found throwing herself against a fence. The responding police reported that both the fence and the woman survived.
“We’ve played in some weird places,” Purple Sage lead guitarist David Nelson said, “but I’ve never seen anything like this.”
In the opinion of many, the next year’s Ball was the last to see such madness, but 1978 was the maddest of them all.
Twelve thousand party-goers showed up. Drugs, pot, and liquor again were mainstays. Police reported many were walking around “half naked,” and an amorous couple was, as others had before, “plowing away” as 50 people watched and cheered them on. And for one last straw, someone threw a teargas canister near Library West at about 1 a.m., and the party was over.
Enough was enough. Administrators decided to end the destruction. On Dec. 3, Student Affairs Vice President Art Sandeen brought an ax down on the Ball, saying he could not “condone” the event.”

(to be cont’d)

“High School Confidential”

1971 — At the second annual Halloween Ball, Tom Petty’s band, Mudcrutch headlined the event, playing its brand of North Florida Swamp Rock.  
((( )))

Tom Petty and his band Mudcrutch headlined the Second Annual Halloween Ball in 1971, playing Midnight to Sunrise under a near full moon, and setting a mood that would be expected for more than 50 consecutive Octobers.

“Moon Germs”
Billy Cobham
Total Eclipse
1974 — At the time, all genres of music were colliding with one another, most explosively was Jazz and Rock, called Electric Jazz, or Fusion (The “F” Word)

((( ))) 

john moran


stan badz

Queen Of The Ball

Wendy O. Williams, in the spirit of the night, wore next to nothing and aggressively led her punk band, the Plasmatics through a loud and angry one and a half hour set. An appreciative Gainesville audience named her the honorary “QUEEN OF THE BALL.” 


Oh, Wendy
by Bob Block
Alligator Staff Writer

Wendy Williams hates people telling her what to do. People talling her what to do makes her smash things. Smashing things makes her feel gooooooooddd. So smash things she does.
She is a bad little girl in a very big girl’s body. The pigtails have been replaced with a blond mohawk and the lace panties by black leather.
“I like Rock and Roll. Getting my brains blown out turns me on,” Williams said Saturday, a few hours before the Plasmatics’ Halloween Festival appearance. She runs her hands through her mohawk-cut hair taking pride in the offbeat.
Technically she is just the lead singer for the Plasmatics, but for all practical purposes, Williams is the Plasmatics. Her electrical tape-covered nipples, and onstage sexual hijinks have become more a symbol for the band than any of its hit tunes. (cont’d)

Past decadence still haunts the ball
by Michael Szymanski
Alligator Staff Writer

Squirming, twisting, headless creatures speckled by a sea of sequins and crepe paper stumble through a conglomeration of gross deformities, wild beasts, and assorted giant genitalia.
Aliens from other galaxies beam down for the haunting event, to be bald beings with elongated egg shaped skulls.
Beware of live Oreo cookies, killer bee swarms, and giant walking tampons. Beware of hairy moss monsters and gargantuan Fruit of the Loom underwear.
Beware of dark strangers in capes with bloodshot eyes who garble in heavy Alachuan accents: “Welcome to Gainesville-mania.”
Welcome to UF’s notorious night of decadence. Welcome to the Halloween Ball — er — uh — the Halloween Festival.

(to be cont’d)



November 2, 1981
Vol. 75 No. 50
It was Crowded and Crazed — as Usual
by Jonathan Susskind
Alligator Staff Writer

Madness incarnate swooped and danced through the swarms, discovering a few not yet afflicted, mercilessly stomping their craniums, savoring the sweet innocence she sucked from the gray mush and spitting out a delicious sauce of dementia in drag, tempera paint, and construction paper. Intoxicated, rejuvenated, the dervish joyously swirled, twirled, and picked up the scent (cont’d)


alligator contents
page 1. (New Student Edition 1981)
florida history (1912-1983)

Vol 1. No.1 (The Golden Rule)
music (Gainesville 1973-1983)
GATOR GROWL (Homecoming)