Teen Halloween at the Whitney
Oct 31, 2013

teen writing on wall with cobwebs behind

A teen guest, covered in cobwebs, decorates the Whitney Studio at the Teen Halloween event Ooh! Ahh! Zombies!!, October 2013. Photograph by Correna Cohen

On Friday, October 25, the Youth Insights Leaders program hosted their first free Teen Night of the year—a Halloween-themed event entitled, "Ooo! Ahh! Zombies!!" The event took place throughout the galleries, in the Whitney Studio, and the Sculpture Court. Teens from all over the city were invited to participate in the event’s activities. 

Since the event took place on the Friday before Halloween, Leaders chose to give it a zombie/post-apocalyptic theme. The idea what life might be like in New York City after the downfall of society and the rise of zombies influenced most of the activities. For instance, teens were asked to design a post-apocalyptic New York skyline in and invited to have their faces painted with zombie scars. There was also a scavenger hunt tour that led participants throughout the Museum’s exhibitions, starting on the fifth floor in American Legends and working its way to the T.J. Wilcox: In the Air installation on the second floor.  Leaders were stationed at each artwork on the tour and facilitated discussions with the teen guests who found their way there.  After the tour, teens were encouraged to contribute to the post-apocalyptic project in the Whitney Studio, get their faces painted, and decorate cookies.

  • two arms with words painted on them

    Robert Indiana-inspired face paint tattoos on a teen guest, October 2013. Photograph by Correna Cohen

  • teens drawing on board

    Adding to the post-apocalyptic New York City skyline on the walls of the Whitney Studio, October 2013. Photograph by Correna Cohen

  • teens in costume gather

    The Teen scene, complete with Batman, October 2013. Photograph by Correna Cohen

  • cupcakes and fruit laid out on table

    The snack table, October 2013. Photograph by Correna Cohen

  • leader talking in front of artwork to teens

    YI Leader Anna gives a tour for teen guests, October 2013. Photograph by Ai Wee Seow

  • teens talking about artwork with teens

    YI Leader Shane talks to guests during the scavenger hunt tour, October 2013. Photograph by Ai Wee Seow

During the tour, I was stationed in Robert Indiana: Beyond Love on the fourth floor, discussing Indiana’s piece The Brooklyn Bridge (1964) with groups of teens. I found that the best discussions included the whole group.  The most challenging aspect of the event for me was getting teens to contribute to the discussion. As the evening went on and teens became more comfortable, discussions became easier and more in-depth. Ultimately I thought the event was successful—we had a great turnout, and it seemed like the teens felt more at home in the Museum. It was also a wonderful opportunity to practice what we’ve been learning about giving tours and to plan a public event for the Whitney.

 By Shane, Youth Insights Leader