Our son goes to a private high school in Washington, DC where the academics are excellent, the kids are (mostly) affluent, and the pressure can sometimes be intense. This is especially true during the last week of October when the seniors have Early Action college applications due (November 1 is the actual due date). Marcus (on his own) decided that the high schoolers all needed to relax, have some fun, and remember to be children again. So he decided that Halloween week needed to be celebrated. He proposed his idea to student government, who were enthusiastically in favor, and then to the administration, which gave him permission to move forward. Monday, 10/28, was the first day. Marcus managed to convince a group of his friends to show up to the school at 7:00 am (an hour before school started) to help him decorate the high school. And so it happened.
He also held a photo scavenger hunt (e.g. take a selfie with something orange, take a selfie with someone from every grade, etc.). His first winner emailed him the photos at 8:07 am. (He decided to award 3 prizes that day instead of 1.) Tuesday, 10/29 was Halloween trivia contest day. And Wednesday, 10/30 was a pumpkin hunt (like an Easter egg hunt, only for pumpkins) and a mummy wrap game. But Thursday, Halloween itself, was the highlight. A costume contest was held, with winners awarded from each grade. In addition, a faculty and staff costume contest also took place. To Marcus’s delight, the hallways were filled with costumed students and faculty alike, all excited about Halloween. Trick-or-treating with student government staffed stations and some faculty during class also took place. And, at the end of the day, faculty and students alike had some fun, remembered their inner child, and celebrated Halloween together. As the Head of School said, “It almost felt like a real high school.”
We have a Halloween family tradition of over 10 years of inviting ourselves over to a friend’s house who has considerably more trick-or-treaters than we do (given that have zero). The kids decided (very reluctantly) that they were too old to go trick-or-treating by themselves and contented themselves with giving large amounts of candy to the kids who came by. But, of course, costumes are a must.
Jim’s office offers prizes to the best costume and does a Halloween lunch in full costume every year.
And we are a family consisting of a Loki, Willy Wonka, Steven Universe, and Nerds.
Our 13 year old suffered childhood trauma (his words) upon being told he was too old to go trick-or-treating this year. And our Chinese was insufficient to explain the quintessentially American way of celebrating Halloween to our exchange student. (I’m not sure our English would have been sufficient, either—it is surprisingly difficult to give a coherent explanation of Halloween to someone who has never experienced it.)
Nonetheless, we celebrated Halloween, American-style. Jim dressed up as a man-eating shark:
Our 13 year old was Star Lord (from “Guardians of the Galaxy”), our almost-16 year old was a Tardis (from “Dr. Who”) [the Tardis on her head lights up, by the way], and our exchange student was Artemis (at least, I think that’s who she was).
We inflicted ourselves upon friends who have two little boys, so our 13 year old STILL got to go trick-or-treating, under the guise of taking the boys around and arrived back triumphantly with a huge bag of candy. It’s all about gaming the system…