Football: Wildcats talk Halloween memories ahead of road trip to Iowa


Courtesy of Northwestern Athletics

Three current Wildcats as kids on Halloween. From left to right: senior kicker Charlie Kuhbander, senior wide receiver Kyric McGowan, senior offensive lineman Sam Gerak.

Ella Brockway and Peter Warren


Saturday is set to be one of the spookiest days of the 2020 season for Northwestern — and not just because the Wildcats have to line up against the monster that traditionally is Iowa’s defense.

It’ll also mark the first time NU (1-0, 1-0 Big Ten) plays a game on Halloween since a 34-13 loss to Penn State in 2009. The Cats have taken to the gridiron on the last day of October just 16 times in program history, with a 6-9-1 record.

Courtesy of Northwestern Archives

NU has historically found more tricks than treats in its Halloween games. A win over the Hawkeyes (0-1, 0-1 Big Ten) this Saturday would be the Cats’ first on Oct. 31 since 1959, when NU was ranked No. 2 in the country and picked up a 30-13 win over Indiana at Ryan Field.

The Cats’ last road win on Halloween dates even further back: It came in 1903, when the eventual Big Ten co-champions took down Illinois in a 12-11 win.

In the spirit of the holiday, The Daily asked a number of NU players and staff about some of their top Halloween memories. Scroll through the photo gallery for a collection of throwback photos of the Cats in their most festive garb. 

Q: Did you ever dress up as a football player for Halloween?

Cam Ruiz, junior DB: “I personally did. It was before I started playing, in like second grade I did, but that was it.” 

Charlie Kuhbander, senior K: “I did a few times. I always wanted to be a running back, but didn’t work out that way for me.”

John Raine, graduate TE: “I was always a Dolphins football player. I lived in Boston for a little bit, so I had to bother the Patriots fans a little bit by dressing up in my Miami Dolphins gear.”

Drake Anderson, sophomore RB: “I think I was Reggie Bush once. I was my dad [former Northwestern All-American running back Damien Anderson] before. And then Barry Sanders a couple times.”

Q: What was your best Halloween costume growing up?

Brandon Joseph, redshirt freshman DB: “I’ve been a football player ever since I was little. Every Halloween, I’m just going to put some pads on and a jersey on and I’ll be a football player. It’s what I love to do.”

Peter Skoronski, freshman OL: “I think I went as a samurai one year. I’ve definitely been a football player a couple times, too.”

Matt MacPherson, associate head coach/DBs coach: “My imagination stinks, so football coach-slash-football player. I was a big ‘get a mask, get some candy,’ guy. Wasn’t trying to show off, but also didn’t want to just show up with nothing. Put a mask on, give me some candy please.”

Kurt Anderson, OL assistant coach: “As a kid growing up, I was the youngest and I had older brothers, and one of my favorite movies was [1979 action film] The Warriors.There was a lot of awesome characters to come out of it. I think I went (as) those baseball guys at least two or three years in a five-year span, where I just got to put on my Little League uniform, paint my face and go out with a baseball bat. Lately, when you’ve got five kids, you’ve got to get creative and do that stuff. One of my good buddies who works for the Chicago Bulls gave me one of their warm-up suits, so I just put a headband on nowadays and just wear the warm-up suit and be the last guy on the bench. That’s how I roll.”

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