LOGAN, Utah — Utah State University has canceled one of its most popular events — the Howl — which usually brings thousands of students to the Logan campus every year.
The Howl is an event so many students have come to rely on for a night of fun, and for local businesses, a night for big sales.
Now both groups have had to learn to adapt.
Each burger made at Morty’s Cafe is an order of optimism and creativity. Preston Parker co-founded the burger joint with one of his students more than six years ago and has found huge success at the corner of USU.
“You can’t be complacent,” said Parker. “You can’t always do the same thing.”
When students left campus due to COVID19, the impact on Parker’s business could have shut their doors. On a normal weekend, Morty’s can see anywhere from three to four hundred people come through.
On a weekend like the Howl, Morty’s can see up to a thousand customers.
“The Howl is a big deal for us,” said Parker. “We stay open late, until two in the morning and students can enjoy what we have to offer.”
The dance that usually rings 5,500 people to the USU campus was canceled for safety reasons during the pandemic.
Instead, Alexis Needleman and her fellow students have had to be creative about hosting smaller events. Comedians, haunted high-fitness classes, and haunted canoe rides — all ideas, Needleman and her team came up with.
“Every Friday this month we’ve been doing drive-in movies at our stadium parking lot,” said Needleman. “We’ve also had a drive through haunted house this week.”
Last year, there were three sexual assaults reported the night of the Howl. For 2020, Needleman said the focus has been student safety.
“The safety committee has honestly been saving us throughout this pandemic, ensuring that we’re able to put on these events for students," said Needleman.
Though crowds of one to two hundred have been safer, for Parker it has meant cooking up some more creativity to get by.
“It’s about the excitement and ambiance that comes with something like the Howl,” said Parker. “We’ve been really good at pivoting and coming up with the new us.”
Friday night is the final event for the Howl — a drive-in movie for students at 7 pm.
The Aggies have a football game Halloween night at home playing against San Diego State.