October Lovers celebrate fall

Brian Burns, freshman in Engineering, and Sarah Fuller, freshman in ALS, roast marshmallows at the Illini Grove on Tuesday night as part of the October Lovers´ annual Octoberfest event. You gotta love October, he said. October Lovers´ othe Josh Birnbaum

Brian Burns, freshman in Engineering, and Sarah Fuller, freshman in ALS, roast marshmallows at the Illini Grove on Tuesday night as part of the October Lovers´ annual Octoberfest event. “You gotta love October,” he said. October Lovers´ othe Josh Birnbaum

By Amy Fishman

Students of the October Lovers Club gathered Tuesday night to make their own caramel apples, drink hot apple cider and hot chocolate, roast marshmallows and eat s’mores, while scary music played in the background of the dark Illini Grove. The club held an Octoberfest to celebrate the middle of October.

October Lovers President and Founder Zachary Herrmann, senior in LAS, said the club was established in the fall of 2002. It began with 15 members, and this year, about 400 students have been attending its meetings.

Beth Rich, sophomore in ACES, joined October Lovers this year on Quad Day. She said she likes fall activities, and the club sounded like fun.

October Lovers is geared toward University students who like the fall season and who enjoy outdoor activities, Herrmann said.

“The purpose is to provide our members with quality October types of activities,” he said.

Jessie Pipal, executive board member of October Lovers, said there are activities planned for every weekend this fall. Pipal, a sophomore in ALS, said she enjoys the activities because they are things many people do as kids, and she likes being outside.

“Almost everything we do has s’mores,” she added.

Club activities in the last few weeks included taking a trip to Curtis Orchard, camping at Kickapoo State Park and navigating through a 10-acre corn maze at Hardee’s Reindeer Ranch in Rantoul.

“My favorite activity is the corn maze,” said Melissa Paraf, the club’s treasurer. Paraf, a senior in LAS, said the corn maze was dark, and members went through it without flashlights, which made it fun.

Herrmann said the corn maze event was October Lovers’ biggest event yet. About 140 people piled into two school buses to attend.

October Lovers provides bus transportation for all the off-campus activities. Herrmann said they rent two school buses for each event.

Members pay a very small amount of money for transportation and for admission to the events, but the club as a whole pays hundreds of dollars for each trip, Herrmann said.

October Lovers raises money for these events by selling club t-shirts. Paraf said the club sold 242 t-shirts with their first order this fall. Because the shirts were such a hit on campus, October Lovers is doing a second order, she said. Money the club raises also goes toward food and supplies for meetings and events.

Upcoming October Lovers events include a trip to a pumpkin patch, a walk through a haunted house and another camping trip.

A trip to the Great Pumpkin Patch in Arthur is scheduled for 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Herrmann said. The patch is about an hour away, and members will be taking buses. The trip will cost about $3 for roundtrip transportation and admission to the patch. Then, members can use their own money to purchase pumpkins.

Another upcoming October Lovers event is a walk through a haunted house, scheduled for 7 p.m. on Oct. 27. The house is located in downtown Rantoul, in the basement of a pet store called The Aquarium, Herrmann said.

“It’s a really scary haunted house, even for people our age,” he said.

And a second camping trip for the semester will be held Nov. 11 and 12.

Herrmann said October Lovers gets good deals on admission prices for events for members. Many of the places have extended hours just for October Lovers events.

“We’re able to provide our members with VIP experiences,” Herrmann said.

He said even though the club is centered around October activities, they plan to have events year-round.

Matthew Modes, head of the October Lovers executive board, said his favorite part about the club is seeing other people enjoy the activities.

“Basically, all we do is facilitate fun,” said Modes, a senior in LAS.

Anyone is encouraged to join October Lovers and participate in the fall activities.

“Our membership is wide open. Everyone’s invited. We want everyone to have fun,” Herrmann said.