Harrisites’ favorite Halloween traditions


Claire Weng

In honor of Halloween being in a few days, Harrisites share their favorite traditions to do at this time of the year.

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The leaves on the trees are changing colors and the air is chilly. This is nature’s way of telling us that Halloween is here! At Townsend Harris High School, Harrisites have many traditions once the spooky season rolls around. There are traditions that have continued throughout the years  as well as plenty of new ones being introduced this year to get students in the Halloween spirit. 

Parent Coordinator Jodie Lassof, who both works at THHS and is an alumna, was happy to talk about how Harrisites celebrated when she was a student. Ms. Lassof said, “There was usually a Halloween dance and we all came in costume. I remember one of my favorite costumes was the year I came as Indiana Jones.” Now that Ms. Lassof is an employee at THHS, she enjoys dressing up with her colleagues, with one of her most recent Halloween costumes being Rosie the Riveter.

An annual Halloween tradition here at THHS is for students and staff alike to walk in and be greeted by the jazz band playing in their Halloween Concert in the lobby during zero band. The whole band and their conductor, Band teacher Kevin Heathwood, spend the morning  jamming out to some iconic Halloween songs such as “Thriller” by Michael Jackson and “Time Warp” from The Rocky Horror Picture Show. To get into the Halloween spirit, the whole band decks out in their Halloween costumes to give the school a show they won’t forget. 

In addition to this classic tradition, many Harrisites come to school dressed up in their costumes. Some students go all out and plan group costumes with their friends. Sophomore Harlow Empedrado said that last year, their friend group wore costumes inspired by the show My Little Pony. They described that the hardest part was being able to decide on a costume because everyone had such different interests and different aesthetics. Soon, they realized that they all shared a love for this childhood show growing up and it seemed only fitting to wear costumes inspired by it. 

A new Halloween celebration that was introduced this year was the THHS Halloween Readathon. Students were challenged to stay up all night from 7:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. at the school reading and engaging in a series of festive events. They watched some classic horror films, made themed crafts, and ate s‘mores while listening to scary stories. Around two hundred students participated, so it would not be a surprise if this event became a recurring tradition. 

Outside of school, Harrisites spend Halloween participating in events with their family and friends. Sophomore Samira Li expressed that she usually “hangs out with my friends and watches horror movies.”  She said she enjoys this because it’s a fun yet simple tradition to indulge in. 

Junior Christina Watkins also said that she personally doesn’t find excitement in dressing up or hanging out with friends on this day. However, she still finds satisfaction in bringing joy to the faces of young trick-or-treaters by giving out candy with her brother. Sophomore Nicole Wikiera typically sports a committed Halloween costume and goes out trick-or-treating with her younger sister. Some people don’t even celebrate Halloween at all. For junior Pema Sherpa, Halloween is nothing more than another normal day for her. She said she used to “love getting into the Halloween spirit and would always dress up as a kid, but after the pandemic, it just wasn’t for [her] anymore.” Nevertheless, Pema said that she still finds excitement in watching her friends celebrate this day.

Art by Claire Weng