The dressing of Luther on the eve of the Luther Colloquy is a tradition going back into the 1950's. Each year, the class of arriving students search their closets for  "appropriate" attire for the seated Reformer.

"A Recollection of the first Redressing"

Dressing Brother Martin Luther

All Dressed Up and Nowhere to Go
 2011 (to be announced)  
2010 Maria Erling  
2009 Kirsi Stjerna  
2008 Marty Stevens
2007 Bill Sanders  
2006 Dave Reecher  
2005 Leonard Hummel  05hummel.jpg
2004 Stephen Folkemer
2003 Robin Steinke and J. Paul Balas
2002 Mark Vitalis Hoffman  2002mvh.jpg
2001 Rick Carlson
2000 President Cooper-White MLpilot-2000-mcw.jpg
1999 Brooks Schramm  ml-schramm99.jpg

The First "Redressing" of Doctor Luther  

Along the way, the redecoration of the Martin Luther statue on the seminary campus has become an annual event, tied to the evening before the Luther Colloquy. Historians and detectives have turned up what may be the first such "redressing" of the statue, traced to 1950. The story had ecumenical finger prints on it, as told below by Herbert Hecht '53. 
“According to a picture in one of the Seminary publications, the “Halloween Decoration of the Martin Luther Statue” has become an annual event, a tradition.  The picture brought back memories.  I’m not sure that I can claim co-credit for originating the tradition (since it did not immediately become an annual event), but I believe that I was a co-conspirator in the very first decoration of the statue.

“We decorated in the dark hours of Halloween, 1950, Paul “Bucky” Burrows and I.  We were Juniors.  “Bucky” was the only Presbyterian in the student body, I was a dedicated iconoclast.  It was essential for us to make a statement, to take a stand against the pomposity of some of our fellow students.  What better way than to decorate the cold image of “The Blessed Dr. Martin”?
“We made our preparations, gathering our materials while touring the battlefield and shopping in the downtown “5 & 10”.  It was well after midnight when we sneaked out to the statue.  “Bucky” had a heart condition, so he remained on the lawn and handed everything up: an empty gallon wine bottle, placed on Martin’s lap; two king-sized cigarettes, scotch-taped together to place between the fingers of his outstretched hand. With an orange Halloween party hat, we elevated him to the office of a “cardinal”; orange crepe paper served as a stole; and we draped an additional length of crepe paper over his outstretched arm.

“It was “Buddy” (Abdel Ross) Wentz’s week to eat at the refectory with the students.  Thus it was that he was there for breakfast the next morning, bright and early, as “Bucky” and I were reviewing our handiwork with some other students. “Buddy” Wentz was frowning; no, he was scowling   As President of the Seminary, he already knew the name of every student in the Junior Class, so I was not surprised when he growled: “Hecht!  Have that taken down!”

“ Then, and in the days that followed, ‘Bucky’ and I were vociferous as we accused one another of committing the dastardly deed.  I used the title “no-good Presbyterian”, while he employed the term “heretic Lutheran”.  Apparently, no one suspected us.  Most people blamed “some nasty kids from the college”.

“ ‘Bucky” Burrows went to a Presbyterian Seminary the next school year, so I no longer had an accomplice in my career of vandalism.  The statue was not decorated again during my seminary years.”