Friday, September 29, 2023

Halloween: fun, fright, costumes, carving, candy


Still not sure about Covid, many students may forego the door-to-door trick-or-treating for Halloween this year, but that hasn’t stopped them from “gearing up” for other “awesome” holiday-related events and activities, reports Nicole Cooper at Civic Memorial High School in Bethalto, Illinois, in the school’s student newspaper.

Pre-pandemic Halloween injuries (source: Consumer Product Safety Commission)

In some cases and neighborhoods, “trunk-or-treating,” where kids visit cars with open trunks full of candy at designated sites, has replaced trick-or-treating, which requires kids to knock on sometimes unfamiliar doors.

Of course, students have their opinions about good candy and bad. Olive Artman and Nik Pusic at Cary-Grove High School in Cary, Illinois, rated Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Twix, Kit-Kats, and Peanut M&Ms as their favorites in that school’s student newspaper. Cody Smith at Limestone High School in Bartonville, Illinois, reported survey results showing that Mounds, which has “no almonds and uses dark chocolate rather than milk chocolate,” and black licorice, that “spicy, salty flavor combination [that one staff member] compared to tar,” were at the bottom of the list.

Or you can make your own treats. In an article entitled “The Pumpkin Muffins You Never Knew You Needed,” Georgia Dykstra and McKenna Orrico tell students at Lockport Township ¬≠High School in Illinois how to bake some delicious treats.

In addition to various strategies of collecting candy, the haunted holiday brings opportunities for other activities, five of which are enumerated by Peter Cox at the University of Chicago Lab School: carve a pumpkin (be careful not to injure yourself, as most Halloween injuries to children come from pumpkin carving), walk around the neighborhood to see the Halloween decorations, create a good costume, visit recognized haunted houses, and watch a horror or scary movie.

If you want to watch some horror movies with background knowledge of the genre, Jack Birmingham at Libertyville High School in Illinois provides a little play-by-play for some of the most common horror movie character types: mortal and immortal villains, final girls, cops, fools, scholars, sages, unlikely heroes, and champions.

Devan Reynolds at Providence Catholic High School in New Lenox, Illinois, shares the bottom line when it comes to Halloween movies in an article entitled “Top 3 Classic Halloween Movies You Must Watch.” On the list are Pet Cemetery, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and The Shining.

Other Halloween activities come from local customs. In Ann Arbor, Michigan, for example, Gallup Pond was packed with families for the annual “Trick or Treat on the River,” wrote Anjali Nadarajah in the student newspaper at Huron High School. “Parents and children rented canoes and traveled all across the water, stopping at about 20 different stations. Each station was set on a dock, with volunteers dressed in costume” handing out candy.

Paul Katula
Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.


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