UMass Dining Commons Prepares 8,500 Pounds of Lobster for Annual Halloween Feast

AMHERST, Mass – The UMass Dining Commons will serve its fourth annual lobster and steak dinner on Halloween Night—Monday, Oct. 31—from 5 to 9 p.m.

UMass Dining Services ranks as the fifth-largest campus dining operation in the country with more than 12,500 students on its meal plan. Ken Toong, director of dining services, says to feed that many people the Halloween event requires an extraordinary amount of food. The menu items for the event include:

* 8,500 pounds of New England lobster
* 1,800 pounds of strip steak
* 1,000 pounds of native and red garlic potatoes
* 300 pounds of cabbage from local farms
* 275 pounds of squash from local farms
* 2,000 apples from the UMass orchard
* Various other vegetables from local farms

This is the largest single lobster dinner on any campus in the nation, Toong said, and this year there is an emphasis on using more local produce, such as cabbage and squash. Last year, UMass was nationally recognized for this event by the National Association of College & University Food Services for the menu, concept and entertainment.

“In addition to the food, the students will be provided with entertainment to distract them from their mid-term stresses,” says Toong. The entertainment will include a pumpkin-carving contest, a costume contest for students and staff, a magician, two fortune tellers and a ghost story teller. “It’s going to be a lot of work for our staff, but we are ready,” says Toong. The Halloween dinner is free for all students on a meal plan, and $10 for all others.

NOTE: Members of the press interested in covering the event should go to the Worcester Dining Commons off North Pleasant Street. Parking is available in Lot 63.