Does Hall Murder Halloween Spirit?

Halloween decorations in the library at Hall.

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A stressed out student completing his college applications instead of having fun with friends.

Increasing workloads. Cramming college applications. Harsh deadlines. Halloween has become a holiday Hall seniors can’t celebrate. With the first of November comes the initial deadline for college applications, leaving seniors under immense stress as they prepare to take this next step in their academic careers. It can be a serious struggle to maintain the Halloween traditions they’ve grown up with: trick-or-treating, going to Halloween parties, even dressing up.

While these traditions may seem more suitable for little kids, it’s always fun to put on a costume, grab some candy and hang out with your friends, no matter how old you are. One Hall senior, Rithik Rayi, expressed his disappointment, claiming, “I was hoping to go trick-or-treating, but since I have a bunch of college apps due the next day I can’t really do that and it sucks. School and college applications take the fun out of Halloween.”

And it’s not just Halloween either. The same can be said for any holiday throughout the school year. Teachers in every department at Hall assign homework over extended breaks. Sometimes they even give homework on religious holidays, which is completely unfair to the students that practice those religions. Not to forget that there are plenty of important religious holidays that don’t get time off, not just at Hall, but all around the country.

The Islam versions of Christmas (they have the same religious magnitude), Eid al-Adha and Eid al-Fitr, are not given days off anywhere in the US. The kids that celebrate these are resentful that they miss out on getting perfect attendance awards because they had to miss a few days of school to celebrate. Parents and students shouldn’t have to choose between celebrating their religious holidays and attending school. Khadija Athman, an Islamic mother of two children in Pennsylvania, says, “It feels more like a competition when it shouldn’t be a competition. You should be able to practice your religion without having to compete with school.”

It impacts other religions as well. Eli Sporn, a Jewish sophomore at McLean High School in Virginia, misses the first few days of Hanukkah which aren’t given days off in his school district. He says, “It kind of hangs over your head the entire time. It’s like: ‘Oh, no. I’m missing something. I need to make that up to get a good grade.” The intensity of schoolwork colliding with holidays makes it unbearable for students.

Even teacher’s themselves can feel the stress.  Kelly Fransen, the journalism teacher at Hall, claims, “I hate it, I don’t do it. Breaks are meant to be just that, breaks.” Even during vacations like winter break, some teachers decide to give us work. It’s not fair to the students nor their parents. Many families would much rather spend that time together. No mom wants to see their daughter or son stuck in their room doing assignments during the holidays while the whole family is downstairs. “As having a senior son right now, I know that it can be very difficult to go on trips if he’s being given homework”stated Dr. Coghill.

Senior Eda Raycraft says “there’s so much work…I need a new agenda.” Eda, like many high schoolers who don’t celebrate religious holidays, does her homework on these days. She feels as though she currently has two times the amount of work than last year, due to college applications and extracurricular activities. With college apps due on November 1st, Eda can’t focus on her Halloween celebrations, or even Homecoming which took place the weekend after our interview with her. She made the fair point that “School kind of supports holiday spirit because it makes you want the holidays to happen faster”, but what does this matter if you’re still doing schoolwork over break?

In conclusion, it is blatantly obvious that as we grow older our holiday spirit dwindles from when we were kids. But for what part of that is school to blame? The relentless workload, unforgiving schedule and tiresome days certainly don’t help. One thing is certain: Hall is most definitely murdering our HALLoween celebrations.

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