Home Musical score Tickets for the YSO Halloween Show will go on sale Sunday

Tickets for the YSO Halloween Show will go on sale Sunday


The Yale Symphony Orchestra’s Halloween show is in full swing, ready to revive its centuries-old tradition. As usual, the film and the musical score are secret.

Staff Journalist and Contributing Journalist

Gavin Guerrette, photo editor

The COVID-19 pandemic has threatened to wipe out beloved traditions, putting pressure on student groups to successfully reintegrate iconic events into the Yale consciousness. Now the Yale Symphony Orchestra is ready to champion its most popular concert of the year: the YSO Halloween Show.

The YSO Halloween Show takes place every year at midnight on Halloween day. The event is centered around a silent film made by students, with a soundtrack composed of classical and pop music. From the three producers to the actors – excluding the director and the cinematographer – the YSO Halloween Concert is a product entirely born out of the YSO.

This year, tickets will cost $10 each to help raise funds for the YSO’s spring tour of Peru, while the show will be broadcast live on the OSJ website free. Tickets for the YSO Halloween Show go on sale at 10:31 p.m. on October 16.

A lot of information about the concert, from the content of the film to the music, is completely secret until the concert. The show is famous for sells out fast and amass a rowdy costumed audience.

According to Ryan Zhou ’23, the director and screenwriter of this year’s film, most people on campus have yet to see a “real” YSO Halloween pageant. For the past two years, the show has either gone virtual or imposed strict capacity limits. But this Halloween, the show is back at full capacity.

“It’s weird because I’ve never seen the full Halloween show,” said Derek Song ’25, the show’s co-producer. “And even last year with COVID-19, the [strict] capacity guidelines were the same [as other concerts]so it just felt like a bit of a fuller show – there didn’t really feel like anything was missing.

Song believes the secretive nature of the show is central to its status as a lore. It builds hype and expectations, while keeping the event “fresh”, he said. But the heightened expectations also create pressure — Song and the rest of the team spent 30 to 100 hours working on the show.

Former YSO President Supriya Weiss ’24 produced the show for the past two years, during which the pandemic prevented a normal show. During her first Halloween show, which was pre-pandemic, she recalled feeling like a “rock star”, walking on stage in front of a massive, loud crowd. While YSO shows are usually well attended, the Halloween show is different; people get up from their seats shouting and cheering.

Alexandra Galloway ’23, after watching the show her freshman year, recalled the excitement when the lights went out just before the show started. The entire audience and orchestra members were in Halloween costumes, with Woolsey Hall being “absolutely packed”, she said. Her Yale tour guide had mentioned the YSO Halloween Show as her favorite tradition — for her, it had lived up to those expectations.

The following year’s show was entirely virtual due to the pandemic, while last year’s only allowed 10% of regular in-person attendance. While it was “great to be in person,” the audience was much smaller and so the show didn’t quite have “that indescribable feeling,” Weiss said.

“Last year when we had this crazy, limited audience, there was this thought that if we don’t get it right, then this tradition will just be lost,” Weiss said. “As [if we fail]no one at Yale will remember what the Halloween pageant was supposed to look like.

From Zhou’s perspective, the film he created will be a reflection of his time here and provide insight for young students. Although most of the details are under wraps, he revealed that this year’s film was adapted from a movie he loves and is “Yale-centric.” Song spoiled that “no one ends up dying in the movie,” per Yale policy, and that it will be light but “a bit dark” in the spirit of Halloween.

Atticus Margulis-Ohnuma ’25, the music director, is in charge of the film’s score, which is also secret. The YSO only hosts a few rehearsals for the Halloween show, the pop arrangements being less technically demanding than the orchestra’s usual repertoire.

“I definitely feel the pressure to create something that I’m proud of, that everyone else is equally proud of,” Margulis-Ohnuma said. “The goal of [film-scoring] is to elicit certain reactions from the audience, to make it feel a certain way…and I have 100% confidence that this band this year is going to pull off the Halloween show with no problem.

According to Zhou, the intent of the rehearsals isn’t so much musicality as getting everyone “on the same page.” While YSO concerts tend to be a bit more serious, “there will be mistakes made” at the Halloween show, Zhou said, where the goal is “just to have fun.”

“When you go to a symphony orchestra, most of the time it’s serious,” said co-producer Nadira Novruzov ’25. “You sit there and you have to be quiet all the time and you can’t clap and you have to listen. And that’s fine, it’s a traditional conventional thing. is a YSO Halloween party.

OSJ was founded in 1965.


Kayla Yup covers science and social justice and the Yale New Haven healthcare system for the SciTech office. For the Arts office, she covers the Humanities. Interested in the intersections of humanities and STEM, she specializes in molecular, cellular and developmental biology and in the history of science, medicine and public health.