500 Words At A Time: Holiday I: Halloween

Hooray, four out of five Halloweens have been ruined by weather up here.

Holidays take on a new shade when you are in college or at least while we have been in college. I guess I should start with some background, with the exception of Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas Day holidays are ignored by us. Always have other than mocking.

Halloween because it is my birthday and because dressing up in costume and begging for candy is fun. Plus, prior to moving here I was getting good at decorating on a limited budget. The kids enjoyed trick or treating and we had some good locations to go. How bad could it be here? As stated above four out of the five Halloweens here have been ruined due to weather-cold, rain, or cold AND rain, but there is more…

Decorating has been a non-event, except for this year. In the five years here, we have been part of the minority of people who decorated for Halloween. Nothing special, lights and window clings only, because the yard is not ours and acts of vandalism are not unheard of. Still even that much has been hard to come by here. You can imagine our surprise when three of new move-ins went all out, as in if it could be decorated with Halloween stuff, it was–one family had a flying wagon hanging from their fence until they took it down.

So, if decorating has been in the minority, try to imagine how trick or treating has been. We live in a court, where even in crappy weather you can walk around for trick or treating. NOPE! The first year, less than half of the residents handed out candy. Year two, less than that. Year three, they put up signs if they were handing out candy-I finished counting at 8 and that included our place. Year four, we took the kids elsewhere without even bothering here. Year five…lets just say, that it looks bleak.

Sad really. Family housing should be one of two places where Halloween is celebrated full bore (the other is the fraternity and sorority houses). Many of the families in family housing have children. They should be decorating and trick or treating in the court before or after trick or treating in the nearby neighborhoods. Alas, that is not the case, like most things here at Ferris, there is a lack of community, which translates into a lack of activity and celebratory spirit.

As sad as that sounds, this is the first college I have been at or around during Halloween where students in costume is the minority. The day before and the day of Halloween and most of the students look like, students. This year, I saw one Harry Potter and that was it. Maybe I was in the wrong part of campus, but I doubt it I happened to be all over campus yesterday.

Here we are back from a day out and there has not been a knock at the door or child in costume in sight. Holidays really have taken on a different shade here…



4 thoughts on “500 Words At A Time: Holiday I: Halloween

  1. Everyone has different value systems. Family housing often houses families from all over the world.

    I know with the crime-ridden October 31sts of yesteryear, many communities have discouraged “local” or “neighborhood” trick-or-treating. Where I live, people take their kids to malls or to downtown businesses for trick-or-treating, during designated (daylight) hours. Or they skip it all together, in favor of school-run fairs or festivals.

    Happy Birthday. 🙂

    And Happy Halloween. 🎃👻


    1. Ankoku1331

      Thank you for the Happy Birthday.

      Here there are families from all over the world and they tend to leave for the holidays or gather together, which is awesome. Everyone else…the university tries to encourage holiday activities, but only in the easiest way possible, which is to post a “come here and celebrate with us” flyer. The house decorating contest started AFTER the three new move-ins went decorating nuts (in a good way), but if they had not, the University would have done nothing like the last four years.

      The townie neighborhoods are like neighborhoods everywhere I have lived; clusters of houses decorate and people go trick or treating when the weather cooperates. I haven’t seen any coordination between the college and neighborhoods. The grade and middle schools do have mini-Halloween events for the kids. Grand Rapids mall has a mall Halloween event.

      From my perspective, it is here on campus where there is a lack of holiday spirit other than “whew, a break from classes and another sanctioned day to party.”


      1. I’m trying to remember a college Halloween… But I’m drawing a blank. I think one of the dorms sponsored a trick-or-treat one year, like in conjunction with a hospital or a pre-school or something. But I can’t be sure.

        We have – unexpectedly! – kids coming to our door tonight, and I have raided the cupboards for individually packed snacks (which means my lunch stuff is pretty much gone). We’re giving away fruit snacks, peanut butter crackers, Milano cookies… Gah! And Smotch just said we ran out.


      2. Ankoku1331

        We bought candy for us to eat and give away…not a single trick or treater all night. Did not even see any wandering around the court. I hope you were able to scramble to meet your trick or treating needs.

        Previous college experiences, at colleges where there was a stronger sense of community identity with the school (EMU and UofM to name two), there were large displays of Halloween slash holiday spirit. Here, not so much. 😦


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