It’s less than one week away, the big day: Oct. 31st – Halloween.
It’s always been my favourite holiday, mostly because of the wonder that ‘Spooky Season’ always seems to bring as it comes in with the last of October’s chills.
What is more transfixing than seeing your neighbourhood transform into a series of haunted houses and graveyards? What is more fun than donning a cape and shoving gross-tasting glow-in-the-dark fangs into your mouth and watching as your classmates run in terror from a “vampire?” It’s the little things that make Halloween special.
Halloween has always been a big deal in my house. We always go hard-core, from the costumes to the décor; no inch of the house is left un-cobwebbed.
Pumpkin carving is an important part of the ritual. We always carve them the weekend before Halloween. We sit on the floor of the laundry room, the tile floor carefully protected by newspapers and plastic garbage bags. Each pumpkin is carefully washed, dried, then has designs drawn onto it before it is properly gutted and carved.
By the time everyone has finished, there are pumpkin guts and seeds everywhere. It doesn’t matter that the floor was covered in paper and garbage bags, there is pumpkin on the floor. There is pumpkin on my arms and legs, and usually a little bit in my hair. It’s part of the thrill.
These pumpkins always come from the Laity Pumpkin Patch. This year is the first year I haven’t been able to go – it’s a bit of a commute from Fredericton. My family went and picked up a pumpkin on my behalf. I still got to carve one, as my residence, Neill House, hosted a pumpkin night. My pumpkin turned out very spooky– he had a few too many teeth.
Neill House has introduced me to several new Halloween traditions. We have the standard pumpkin carving and trick-or-treating, but we also have PSAC – the Great Pumpkin Sacrifice, a University of New Brunswick event where Harrison House, the residence kitty-corner from mine, throws a giant pumpkin off the roof of the building. Before it hits the ground, it is lit up with fireworks in a colourful Halloween explosion. I can’t wait to see it.
We do a “mindfulness” trick-or-treat: going from door-to-door visiting our proctors and receiving advice on how to cope with midterms (which so conveniently line up with Halloween) and, of course, a piece of candy.
Halloween can be a difficult time for students in both high school and university, as there are many activities going on while testing season is at its peak. For me, Halloween night itself, aWednesday, will probably be taken up with studying. But that doesn’t mean I won’t sneak out and see what Fredericton has to offer in the way of classical trick-or-treating.
Exploring what Fredericton has to offer in the way of Halloween traditions has made my first Spooky Season in New Brunswick much more enjoyable. I can’t wait for a Halloween to arrive. I’ll be sitting out in the quad, like Linus in the Pumpkin Patch, waiting for the Great Pumpkin to arrive. He might not have come for Linus, but he’ll be there for me – 9 o’clock the residents at Harrison will throw the Great Pumpkin off the roof of the building, and Halloween will officially begin.
Marlowe Evans is a student at the University of New Brunswick from Maple Ridge who writes about youth issues.