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.[2]

Early history[edit]

NOD was founded by 4 Wiess College men. In the early '70s, each college at Rice had an event to raise money to fund the college's parties for the year. At that time, the drinking age was 18 and the colleges sponsored on-campus parties with alcohol. Wiess had the least amount of funds. The Wiess men were tasked with coming up with a fundraiser party.[citation needed]

Year 1: "Night of Decadence" - The general idea was to buy as much booze as they could, pour it into trashcans, and drink. The concoction was primarily Everclear, cheap wine, and fruit. (It's probably not hard to believe these were the same men who painted themselves orange to streak Rice-UT baseball, started campus-wide streaks to Mecom Fountain, voted a refrigerator Homecoming Queen, and could not take girls back to Wiess due to general uncouth behavior of Wiess men.) The first year no one from any other college attended. There were about 30 Wiess men who "attended." Even so, the college did manage to break even.[citation needed]

Year 2: "Night of Decadence II" - The same no-theme theme continued. But, a few non-Wiess students attended, even a few women. The college made a little money the second year.[citation needed]

Year 3: "Return of Night of Decadence" - The word was finally getting out. By the third year, a much larger crowd attended and a large profit was made.[citation needed]

Year 4: "Beyond Night of Decadence" - The year the giant phallus was introduced! This was also the first time NOD was truly a toga party. Everyone on campus showed up and it was the major party of the year.[citation needed]


The Houston Press suggested the college began adopting a theme for each year's party in 1976.[3] However, it is wrong. According to the founders, togas and minimal clothing was there at the beginning. It has been suggested that 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). Again, according to the founders, that is incorrect, at least for the first years. The founders were not going for historical or apocalyptic: The founders made a conscious decision to name the year's NOD with a nod to a movie title. 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. The university administration has several times tried to shut down the party because of its ability to promote a culture of sexual assault and excessive alcohol abuse. Alternative events on campus include the rapidly growing Evening of Elegance (recently started in 2014), Night of Innocence (offered since at least the 1980s), and, in previous years, Night of Praise and NODgeball. NOD had long been one of the most popular parties on campus, though the decorations have become more conservative in recent years. Each year over one thousand people are usually expected to attend NOD. Recently, however, the party has struggled to break even and is on the point of actually losing money.

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-mâché 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 starting in 1999.[5]

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

NOD themes[edit]

1972 Night of Decadence
1973 Night of Decadence II
1974 Return of Night of Decadence
1975 Beyond Night of Decadence
1976 Fall of Rome [7]
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) [8]
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 [9]
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
2015 NODs and NODesses: Mount My Olympus
2016 Walt DisNOD: Where Dreams Cum True
2017 EcoNODmics: Stockings and Bondage
2018 AsstroNOD: A Journey to Uranus

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "NOD So Naughty". Houston Press. Retrieved 29 October 2009.
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  3. ^ "NOD So Naughty". Houston Press. Retrieved 29 October 2009.
  4. ^ "NOD So Naughty". Houston Press. Retrieved 29 October 2009.
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