Night of Decadence

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Night of Decadence, commonly referred to as NOD, is a party held every year around Halloween at Wiess College at Rice University.[1]

The party was first held in 1972 and quickly became a legendary event at Rice and in Houston, drawing young alumni and students from other universities in addition to Rice students. It was also named to the Top 10 College Parties in America by Playboy magazine in the 1970s.[2]


Beginning in 1976, the college began adopting a theme for each year's party.[3] In the 1970s and 1980s, many of the themes were historical and/or apocalyptic in nature (e.g. The Fall of Rome, Caligula, Armageddon, Animal Farm, The Trojan War). By the 1990s the themes were generally sexual puns, often based on movie titles (e.g. James Bondage, Lust in Space).

Instead of traditional costumes, students dress as degenerately (or as minimally) as possible. Pregnant nuns and drag dress are some of the tamer outfits. Although there are always several people creatively attired in Saran Wrap or fishnet stockings and pasties, a typical costume is boxer shorts for men, and bra and panties for women. Because of its overtly sexual context, NOD eventually became a polarizing event on the Rice campus. Alternative events on campus included Night of Innocence (offered since at least the 1980s), Night of Praise, and NODgeball. NOD remains one of the most popular parties on campus, though the decorations have become more conservative in recent years. Each year over one thousand people attend NOD.

Regardless of the stated theme, the decorations for NOD were overtly sexual. For many years NOD's trademark was "Sparky", a giant phallus built of papier-mache and suspended from the ceiling of the Commons. ("Sparky's" also became the nickname of Wiess's basement game room.) Often Sparky was aligned with a corresponding anatomical prop at the other end of the room; one year a motor was added to move Sparky back and forth during the party. In some years a second Sparky was constructed with internal tubing that delivered Everclear punch from an upstairs mixing area to a suitably shaped serving trough below.[4]

Significant safety efforts were instituted started in 1999.[5]

The party now garners over 1,500 people.[6]

NOD themes[edit]

1973-'75 Night of Decadence [7]
1976 Fall of Rome [8]
1977 Wiess Palms / Motel 6 (Sanitized for your protection)
1978 Animal House
1979 30th Anniversary of the Erection of Wiess
1980 Halloween
1981 Caligula
1982 Armageddon
1983 Co-eds in Chains (the year Wiess became a co-ed college)
1984 Animal Farm (Slogan: "Two Legs good. Four legs better.")
1985 The Final Chapter (last year in which the Texas drinking age was 19)
1986 Reserection
1987 The Trojan War
1988 Motel Wiess
1989 Die Hard: 40 Years and Still Erect
1990 Dante's Inferno
1991 Seuss is Loose
1992 Garden of Delights
1993 James Bondage
1994 Lust In Space
1995 Scamtasia
1996 Wei'Kutopo (Amazonian jungle theme)
1997 The Greatest NOD On Earth (circus theme) [9]
1998 Silver Anniversary: NOD's Greatest Hits (25th Anniversary)
1999 The Wizard of NOD
2000 Never Never NOD
2001 2001: A Space NODyssey
2002 Cops and Robbers: A NOD to Authority
2003 NODty or Nice - Santa's Coming
2004 NOD Bless America: Choose Your Position
2005 NODdy by Nature: A Walk on the Wild Side
2006 NODical Adventure: A Salute to Seamen [10]
2007 A Night in NODdingham: Bring Your Stiffest Arrow
2008 KryptoNOD: Horny Heroes and Villainous Vixens
2009 The Wonderful World of NOD: Someday My Prince will Come
2010 Viva NOD Vegas: Go All In
2011 Harry NODder: Slytherin to my Chamber of Secrets
2012 NODtendo 69: Blow My Cartridge
2013 196NOD: Come Together, Right Now (All) Over Me
2014 Alice in NODerland: Come Down My Rabbit Hole

See also[edit]