– Written by Jesse A. Saperstein, Habilitation Liaison
As a staff member who went Trick-or-Treating well into his young adult years…it is an honor to help the College Experience students and Transitions participants celebrate their own cherished, Halloween traditions! Part of being an adult is letting go of many things and growing up in the ways where it counts. But it is unfair and impossible to let go of everything. The students have every right to hold on for dear life where it counts. What is a better way to hold on than celebrating the arrival of Halloween?
On the date of Sunday, October 30, students and alumni of the College Experience joined artistic forces in the basement of 830 Lancaster where they spent nearly two hours sculpting pumpkins into images of benign horror. The Jack O’Lanterns are currently on display at the College Experience houses and will be illuminated by battery-operated lights later this evening. Halloween purists tend to live by wax candles, although we decided to go with the artificial option for safety reasons!
Everybody was up to their elbows in pumpkin pulp and a glorious mess was made for about two hours. Participants also meticulously gathered just about every single pumpkin seed for roasting later on in their homes. To add to the festivities, a student bought a pumpkin pie for all the Jack O’Lantern carvers, and it was demolished in about seventeen seconds. I purchased pumpkin-flavored cupcakes. The final product was a series of intricate designs that will now greet Trick-or-Treaters in time for their candy avalanche just a few hours away.
At the College Experience, we cannot completely replicate the comforts and annual traditions that were forged over the years from their families. But we sure as heck try our best and welcome the suggestions from our creative students. The happy rollercoaster of the Holiday Season will be upon us considering the unofficial start of the holidays begins at 12:01 am on November 1st. We are looking forward to a Thanksgiving feast, Holiday Party, and recreational activities that will take the students and Transitions participants into the community. At the Activities Meeting prior to the pumpkin carving event, there were plenty of good ideas pertaining to a theatre production of “A Christmas Carol” and viewing an electronic wonderland of lights in downtown Albany. These are adventures that should come to fruition over time. But for now, it is still very much the climax of Halloween and this is what the students are focusing on as timeless films such as “The Nightmare Before Christmas” and “Hocus Pocus” fill the room.
There are numerous times when reporting to the job does not seem like “work” as we help the students create new memories while holding onto nostalgia that does not have to come to an abrupt halt as the students are learning how to be an adult. Yesterday evening was certainly one of those days and then some. As the Creative Writing instructor, I also enjoyed reading the students’ writing about Halloween memories such as their favorite candy and times when they have enjoyed being scared. The essence of Halloween is that it is the only day of the entire year where it is acceptable to be someone else, enjoy free candy, and have fun! Who could ask for anything more?