Despite the difficulty, Halloween spirit lives on at FHC

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Toni Cuenca

In spite of all that has been lost this year, students of FHC refuse to let the pandemic take away their Halloween spirit.

With the smell of pumpkin spice permanently lingering in the air, jack-o-lanterns littering every doorstep, and the incandescent leaves falling in greater numbers every day, it’s difficult to ignore the signs of Halloween. In the past few weeks, Forest Hills has developed a delectably creepy and delightfully crawly atmosphere that is undeniably spooky. Even though these signals point to a typical Halloween, this year’s celebration is going to be filled with a different type of mask that no Halloween has seen before. 

Despite all the differences this year, the students of FHC are still remaining optimistic about the beloved holiday. Junior Sammie Wing, for example, has managed to find a myriad of reasons to look on the bright side during these trying times. 

“I really don’t think that anything could put a damper on my Halloween spirit,” Sammie said. “It’s just one of the best holidays. If anything, I’m more excited because I’m not a person that likes big parties, so I’m just really excited to have an excuse to have a small [get-together] to celebrate my Halloween.”

This year has presented many students with the opportunity to focus more of their Halloween spirit on activities other than trick-or-treating and partying, and, for students like Sammie, this is only an incentive to get more involved in this year’s Halloween celebration. 

Cherished Halloween activities like wearing costumes, eating candy, and watching horror movies are still on everyone’s Halloween itinerary, whether that be by themselves or in a socially-distanced setting.

For senior Isabel Oppenhuizen, her main focus is cultivating a spectacular costume: outfit, makeup, and all. As a special effects make-up artist, she finds Halloween to be a great way to showcase her art, and she plans to use her skills the way she does every year—to express herself. 

“[Halloween has] always been a holiday where you can do whatever you want,” Isabel said. “You can dress up how you want, and people don’t usually judge you for that. I’ve always had a style that stands out from other people, but I’ve never really hesitated to dress how I wanted to. During Halloween, I can [dress how I want], and people won’t give me a weird look.”

As a connoisseur of makeup and special effects, Isabel has a stronger connection to Halloween than most people. Despite being a creator of spooky looks all year round, she always manages to find the energy to get in the Halloween spirit when October rolls around. 

Her dedication to her craft is not the only thing that ties her to the holiday, however. A large part of why she loves Halloween are the memories she attributes to the special day. 

“[My favorite Halloween memory was] when I was in elementary school,” Isabel said. “My brothers, my mom, and I all went out to a Trunk-Or-Treat, so we just went to people’s cars and got candy. My family doesn’t get to spend much time together as a whole group, and Halloween is one of the few times that we’re always all together. I think that was one of the first times of the year that we were able to do something and actually connect.”

I’ve always had a style that stands out from other people, but I’ve never really hesitated to dress how I wanted to. During Halloween, I can [dress how I want], and people won’t give me a weird look.”

— Isabel Oppenhuizen

Many students share Isabel’s love for Halloween which is why it’s so difficult to see the holiday under such a different lens this year.

For sophomore Will Pointer, although he loves everything Halloween-related, getting in the Halloween spirit has been a challenge due to the circumstances.

“It doesn’t really seem like Halloween this year, to be honest,” Will said. “I didn’t go to a corn maze, and I didn’t go to any haunted houses. Because of COVID-19, there’s not as much Halloween stuff going on, so it has put a damper on things, but it’s still been kind of fun.”

Although Halloween is not going as planned for Will, nothing can prevent him from finding any reason to celebrate the spookiness of the month of October. Whether it be by watching his favorite Halloween movie, Hocus Pocus, or coming up with a costume, Will never struggles to find a reason to get in the Halloween spirit.

For Will, everything about this time of year puts him in a good mood—even things as simple as trees.

“Halloween is great,” Will said. “Spooky season is just a great time of year. [There are] lots of good, chill vibes in the air—and the leaves. Don’t get me started on leaves. Wow. [Halloween] really just puts you in the right mood [and] the right mindset.”

Amidst the excitement that this year brings, Sammie, Will, and Isabel all understand that the safety of others comes before any holiday. With plans to wear masks and keep all gatherings limited and socially-distanced, their farewell to October will simultaneously be scary, safe, and CDC-approved.

Sammie puts it best by saying that Halloween shouldn’t be a reason to fail at upholding her responsibilities of keeping those around her safe.

[There are] lots of good, chill vibes in the air—and the leaves. Don’t get me started on leaves. Wow.”

— Will Pointer

“I think that [Halloween] is important because it brings the neighborhood together,” Sammie said. “But, it’s also important to remember that we are in the middle of a pandemic. There are ways to practice Halloween traditions while keeping everyone safe by wearing a mask when you’re trick or treating, not getting too close [to others], and not having huge parties.”

With her unshakeable passion for Halloween, Sammie plans to enjoy her favorite holiday any way she can. At the end of the day, Halloween isn’t about the candy, the costumes, or the partying. For Sammie, Halloween is about the feeling of cherishing her youth that comes every October.

“Teenagers grow up too fast,” Sammie said. “[I love Halloween because] it lets us go out and act like we’re kids again.”