As students gathered around the Bell Tower for the Wednesday nooner on Oct. 26, I found myself under a canopy where the Student Recreation Center (SRC) volunteers, along with a group of students, were decorating pumpkins of various sizes.
Being a lover of Halloween and all things spooky, I wanted to know how this event came to fruition, which brought me to Sarah Soriano, a marketing coordinator at the SRC. “I love Halloween. I love the dress up and this decorative stuff,” she enthusiastically declared. When my question came up about the event, Soriano was giddy when explaining, with it being the first in the SRC’s weeklong, “Scream Week.”
With the rest of the week consisting of Zombie Zumba & Rock Crawl, a Freaky Food cooking demo and a big dance party on Halloween Day, she wanted to kick it off with the pumpkin decorating to have a collaborative event and to let “the students de-stress, decorate some pumpkins and have a little fun.”
Before I started my own decorating adventure, I soaked in the demonstrations of creativity happening around me. The two tables were crowded with students, surrounded by Sharpies, art markers, paint, glue, foam stickers and pipe cleaners. One pumpkin was decorated to look like Harry Potter himself, others were made into goofy faces and were covered in ghosts and “Happy Halloween.”
The fun of the event was having no worries and only focusing on doing something enjoyable and child-like. Friends were laughing at the paint not falling where they wanted and the pure enjoyment of not worrying about midterms for an hour of the day. “It’s a perfect time with midterms,” Soriano added when the topic of stressing about midterms was brought up.
While I explored the tables, third-year Mary Glenn agreed with the de-stressing factor of the decorating saying, “It’s therapeutic. Deep stress reliever from class.” She had just finished her midterms and found painting the small pumpkin relaxing. “I like artsy and crafting stuff. Whenever they have free events like this, I go to them,” Glenn said.
Although the event called for decorators, it also drew in observers, like second-year Evelyn Chavez. I asked Chavez why she wasn’t joining in. “I like watching people be creative,” Chavez explained. When we continued talking, I couldn’t help but agree that watching people concentrate on something other than class notes and midterm reviews was relaxing in and of itself.
Having a hands-on experience was even more therapeutic as the stress I had from exams melted away whenever I picked up a marker or pipe cleaner. I felt like a kid with my only worry being wondering what to add next. I watched a fellow decorator paint a homage to Glenn from “The Walking Dead;” she had watched the season premiere the night before. In our opinions, and from some of the volunteers, it was spot on creation.
As the event came to a close because of a shortage of pumpkins, decorators left with their creations saying, “Thank you,” to the SRC volunteers, but not before they snapped pictures for the SRC Snapchat and Instagram. Soriano looked back on her idea for the event during our conversation saying, “I’ve been thinking about (it) for almost a year, so we are excited to have it launch off. We can tell the pumpkins are going really quickly and next year we are going to need a lot more pumpkins.” With their “Scream Week” kicking off, Soriano and her volunteers have high hopes. With the turnout for the decorating being prosperous, the rest of the week’s events, and the years to come, seem to hold the same promise.