ASB festivities reignite Halloween spirit

As student social life recovers from the pandemic, Palo Alto High School’s Associated Student Body celebrated this weekend’s Halloween with a costume contest and trick-or-treating at school Friday.

Junior Ariel Hong collects candy and stickers from English teacher Lucy Filppu’s classroom during Palo Alto High School’s Trick-or-Treat activity during lunch Friday to promote Halloween spirit as well as the Mental Health Matters program. Filppu taped Shakespeare quotes to each piece of candy she handed out in order to include some of the Bard’s more frightening pieces of work into the event. (Photo: Leena Hussein)

ASB’s Halloween costume contest will be accepting submissions through Nov. 1. Both students and teachers can participate by submitting photos of their costumes with the chance to win four servings of dessert from Town and Country Village Shopping Center for group photo winners and a Halloween bucket of candy for individual winners. 

Junior Bennett Hardy, ASB videographer and costume contest organizer, said he hoped having students on campus to participate in spirit-filled events would help increase the unity among the student body post-pandemic. 

“Showing spirit and seeing other people being spirited with you represents the togetherness ASB wants to bring out in the Paly community,” Hardy said. 

Hardy said that ASB plans to host many more events like the costume contest to provide some compensation for the experiences many were deprived of last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“We’re trying to do more festive things and activities this year,” Hardy said. “It doesn’t make up for a year without everything, but we hoped that it brings joy to some of the students.”

The Halloween costume contest was paired with a Trick-or-Treat activity that took place on campus during Friday’s lunch, when students roamed campus to gather candy from the participating classrooms. 

ASB School Climate Commissioner and junior Felicia Lee said she hopes the Halloween Trick-or-Treat activity will bring more attention to student mental health. In collaboration with the Bring Change to Mind club, Lee gave out stickers for mental health awareness during the activity.

A group of sophomores smile in costume outside a classroom while participating in ASB’s Trick-or-Treat activity to promote Halloween spirit. Many students were excited to experience Paly’s Halloween spirit on campus this year as last year’s Halloween proved to be disappointing due to the pandemic. “I’m loving it [Paly’s Trick or Treat activity], we’re having a good time,” sophomore Roxanna Reid (middle left) said. “I didn’t know what to expect, but it turned out to be great.” (Photo: Leena Hussein)

“Instead of asking about their [student] mental health status, right now, we just plan to give out stickers that mention mental health at this Trick-or-Treat event,” Lee said. “The stickers were provided by the Wellness Center and a club named to Bring Change To Mind.” 

Freshman Clara Thestlemire said she appreciated the Trick-or-Treat and costume contest ASB set up for students. Thestlemire said her plans for last year’s Halloween were uneventful, but that this year will be different. 

“I just didn’t have any plans last year, which was kind of disappointing,” Thestlemire said. “But this year my friends and I are going to plan a hangout — which will be very fun and will consist of a lot of candy.” 

Thestlemire also said she appreciated how the ASB placed an emphasis on mental health in the Trick-or-Treat event.

“It’s been fun,” Thestelmire said. “The classes had a lot of candy, and we also just got [mental health] stickers and quotes, it’s really good to have these things happening on campus.” 

Sophomore Roxanna Reid followed Thestlemire in their march to each candy-filled classroom, and both dressed the part for a spirited Halloween weekend. Reid echoed Thesltemire’s excitement for Sunday, as she said she felt last year’s “substitute” for the tradition was disheartening. 

“I just didn’t have any plans last year,” Reid said. “Me and my friends just hung out, watched a movie, and ate candy.” 

Reid said her excitement for Halloween on Sunday was heightened by ASB’s Trick-or-Treat and costume contest events. 

“I was worried about coming to school in costume, but then I saw other people wearing theirs,” Reid said. “These activities really do make me feel like this year’s holiday season will be much better.”