You show up late; everyone’s already here. You’re dressed up, as is everyone else, but your costume is different. Childish. Ugly. You’re a wart-covered witch in a room full of vampires and devils and this dichotomy is evidence that you’ve finally come up against the edge of something, reached some wall. You’re in new territory.
Almost no one–save for a few famous TikTok celebrities who were dragged to the darkest depths of the Internet for this–had parties last year and Halloween was no exception. Therefore, many students at Leonia High School were deprived of that quintessential teenage experience: the high school Halloween party.
The teen years are a time of moving away from the family-oriented, commercialized celebrations of childhood and towards the grungy experiences (late night horror movies, playing games of Bloody Mary in pitch black bathrooms, and abandoned houses friends swear aren’t haunted but are afraid to enter) of young adulthood. This is a vital assertion of independence and many missed out on it. It’s not too late.
While the student body has returned to the school building for in-person instruction, there is still an ongoing pandemic. So, how do students plan on balancing the safety precautions of COVID-19 and the banshee call of these unmissable youthful rights of passage?
According to Grace Jung, a Leonia High School Senior, “I want to be the masked dudes [from Squid Game]”. But what is she doing all dressed up? “Nothing,” she claimed, then, when pressed, “Maybe watch a scary movie with someone.”
This was followed by a discussion of the horror film Get Out, the last scary movie she watched with company. Ironic, considering that for the last year and a half all anyone has wanted to do is “get out”.
Grace went on to say she’d love to have a scary-movie Halloween sleepover, having recently turned eighteen and never had one. When asked if she’s nervous about celebrating during the pandemic, she said “wear a mask and you’re good.”
Elai Kindler, another LHS Senior, echoed Grace’s statement that he didn’t do much last year, but that this year he did have tentative plans to “go out with friends and possibly wear a costume.”
When asked how he felt about missing out on Halloween last year, Elai said that while he’s “sad we lost a year and a half of our high school experience…there’s nothing anybody could do about it and I’m happy the school took preventative measures to keep us safe rather than us having better ‘childhood memories’”.
Both students’ sentiments were clear; while it’s unfortunate they and other members of the student body lost out on valuable childhood experiences, it’s better than that more people were infected. Grace ended her interview with the very quotable statement: “Safety first”. She might have plans for this Halloween, but as she said, safety comes first.
Halloween is just one of the many experiences students at Leonia High School missed out on during the pandemic, along with countless other adolescent activities. Though there is a sense of sadness over this loss, there is also a feeling of wanting to make up for lost time, for Halloween and other holidays to come. Everyone, it seems, appreciates the importance of cherishing the time they have left in high school.
Nevertheless, time is running out and for many students, this is their last year of childhood and their last Halloween as a kid. Adulthood beckons just out of sight like a lone flickering light at the end of a long hallway beckoning them into adulthood and that horrifying “beyond”. What will they do with their precious time–how will they keep it from slipping through their fingers–before they get there?