This is Halloween!
Second only to the cherished events of graduation weekend, Halloween is a highly anticipated and much-loved celebration during the Grier school year. From the pumpkin carving, abundance of candy, hayrides, decorations, and costumes, to campus trick-or-treating, spooky movies, and haunted houses, Halloween is a convivial time for the Grier community. For some Grier students, this is their first time celebrating this holiday with such fervor.
Students who have lived in the United States for their entire lives are accustomed to the array of Halloween delights and frights, but Grier students from outside the U.S., may be experiencing the full scope of Halloween for the very first time. Miranda, Isabella, and Josefina agreed to share their thoughts and feelings about celebrating at Grier.
Miranda is in her second year at Grier and has celebrated the two-day holiday of Dia de los Muertos in Mexico, but the Day of the Dead is quite different than Halloween because it not about spooky werewolves and vampires, but really a time to remember and honor deceased ancestors while reflecting on life and death. For many students like Miranda, their favorite part of the celebration was seeing their friends and teachers in costume. Mrs. Borst and the teachers even did a TikTok dance!
Isabella has been attending Grier for four years. After choosing to dress up as a Gryffindor student from the Hogwarts school of Harry Potter lore, she felt connected to the tradition when she discovered other students and even teachers also in Harry Potter inspired costumes! As a resident of Beijing, China, Isabella knew of Halloween from Western influences, but dressing up in costumes from popular culture isn’t associated with any holiday in China. Many Chinese people honor the dead through solemn holidays such as the Hungry Ghost Festival that stem from Daoist and Buddhist traditions. One of Isabella’s favorite memories of Halloween at Grier is when the seniors created an elaborate Grier haunted house. As a sophomore, she loved this transformation of the school and was inspired by the take-charge seniors for executing such a monumental event for everyone on campus.
Josefina is a first year Grier student and the only student from the Czech Republic. While she is familiar with the US version of Halloween from pop culture, this was her very first time participating in the festivities herself. Josefina joined her friend Haley in comically dressing up as Grier teachers for the costume contest on Monday after classes. During the contest, the student body cast their votes via applause for their favorite costumes in five categories: scariest, most creative, funniest, best group, and best faculty. While Josefina and Haley’s creative costume didn’t take the prize, it garnered plenty of applause and cheer.
All Souls Day is celebrated in the Czech Republic, Josefina related, but it is a much more solemn occasion, that shares some similarities with the Latin American holiday, Dia de los Muertos in that it is a time for remembering loved ones passed. While the Czech do not wear costumes for All Souls Day, children and enthusiasts might dress up at witches for the lively end of April festival called pálení čarodějnic, or Burning of the Witches. This festival celebrates the end of harsh winter and the coming of the spring, symbolized by burning effigies of the winter witches.
For international students and students native to the United States alike, Grier provides a fun-filled, safe environment to celebrate Halloween. Whether sporting spooky costumes or their everyday clothing, when they are surrounded by supportive friend and nurturing teachers, our students find a sense of belonging in the Grier community.