By: Elissa Chee, Staff Writer
Living in residence is an interesting experience during Halloween. Spooky season begins two weeks before the much anticipated holiday. After toiling away at an assignment for hours, hounded by the ghost of stress and the plague of first-year sleep deprivation, I walk outside my dorm at around 7:30 p.m. to reheat some easy dinner. Right outside my door, I’m greeted by the start of this month’s spooky festivities. Cobwebs string the doorposts, plastic ghosts and chains swing from the ceiling, and perhaps the scariest part of this scene are the tags, scraps, and plastic litter pieces left behind from this half-finished decoration project. It’s me and the abandoned hallway on a weekday night, and I find myself amused at this interesting scene.
In the following days, while a number of my residence friends celebrate the spooky season by decorating their rooms, dressing up, and going out to parties, I also practice my own tradition: the “I’m too cool to participate in this children’s holiday.” As the occasion nears, my friends discuss what they’ll wear the night of. Although I shrug it off when I tell them I’m not participating, I can’t help but feel a twang of FOMO. Secretly, I pause in front of the arrangement of Harry Potter ties and touch the one with blue and silver at Walmart.
The day before Halloween rolls around, my friend and I walk into philosophy class greeted by someone in a carved pumpkin head sitting in the last row of the lecture hall. We can’t help but laugh at the confused faces of our classmates each time they open the door and spot the mass of orange occupying one of our lecture seats. We absolutely lose it when our TA walks past the pumpkin and then looks back and does a triple take in its direction. Throughout the lecture we struggle to stifle our laughter, wondering if and when the professor will address the pumpkin in the room. At the end of the lecture, my friend asks me again if I’ll wear a costume to celebrate tomorrow. When I laugh and shake my head no, she tells me to “suit myself,” as she’ll be wearing one tomorrow when we head to the ROM together.
The next day after class when we meet at the ROM, I’m surprised to see her in a fox onesie. While we enjoy the exhibit and use her costume as a unique opportunity to practice taking some portraits, various staff members stop us to comment on her amazing costume. As I watch her blush and thank the staff, I can’t help but feel a tad awkward in my regular attire.
By the time night rolls around and a friend messages me asking if I’d like to go trick-or-treating in our residence, my attitude towards Halloween participation has visibly shifted. When I awkwardly confess that I’d like to but don’t have a costume to wear, she reassures me and says she won’t be wearing one too. I’m relieved. Slowly, some of the initial skepticism I felt towards Halloween dissipates and is replaced by excitement instead. I eagerly grab the Trinity orientation bag in my closet, empty its contents onto my desk, and head to the lobby to meet her.
It’s a weird feeling being 18 and trick-or-treating for the first time in years, but when I knock on the door and say trick-or-treat with a huge grin on my face, I feel like a kid again. As we spend the remainder of the night shuffling around St. Hilda’s and Trin Proper doing candy-hunting, I admire our growing group of friends without Halloween costumes. Here we were, 18, comfortable, having fun, and trick-or-treating. I couldn’t believe I’d almost passed up this night because I’d adopted a “too cool for school” attitude. And to think I’d nearly turned down the opportunity for free sweets too! At that moment, walking back to my dorm with my bag of sweets full and my heart fuller, I made a mental note to myself: “Next year, I’m definitely wearing a costume!”