It’s that time of year again! Oh — you mean Christmas? No, Halloween was just days ago! Every year, people seem to get “wrapped up” in the spirit of Christmas as soon as Nov. 1 hits the calendars. But it’s also nice to reflect on what Halloween meant for us this year, or even from sweet years ago, before we get swept away into yet another holiday season. Here are some fond recollections of Halloween shared on behalf of some of our fellow Highlanders.


[pullquote]Erika Rico, second-year[/pullquote]

November 1, 2015

Dear Diary,

It’s around two in the afternoon and I have finally awoken from my slumber. The Halloween carnival went great last night. This event is what I always look forward to all year. Although my friends invite me to parties and different corn mazes for Halloween, I’d much rather be a volunteer at this event. I love watching kids in their costumes come to our church-created carnival. They walk through the hay path (created in the parking lot) with big smiles on their faces, eager to gather a load of candy from the carnival games. While some don’t want candy, they stuff their faces with cotton candy, popcorn and snowcones.

We put so much into this event that seeing everyone’s enjoyment is the real treat, as cliche as it sounds. I could be getting the crap scared out of me or be getting claustrophobic with dancing bodies around me, but making a kid’s night is the thrill of Halloween I love. Plus, it’s a great way for our church (Sonrise Church of God) to get to know the community we are surrounded by. Creating a safe environment for the local kids is always a plus for the parents, and not having to walk for hours at night is also great. We care for the families and want to show it.

My favorite part was running the popcorn machine. I love popcorn and snuck a few handfuls here and there. My boyfriend was working a game near me, making it easy to throw some uncooked kernels his way. He didn’t like it, but my brothers who came with me for Halloween loved it.  

I was worried my brothers wouldn’t have fun and would miss the trick-or-treating from house-to-house, but they seemed to really enjoy themselves. The oldest, who’s 13, continued to find a new carnival game to beat. Whenever he couldn’t fully win, he would keep trying until he got it perfect. Although we gave out candy regardless of winning or losing, he still wanted to have the challenge of getting it perfect.

The youngest, who’s eight, loved the Jolly Jumpers the most (I had him keep his shoes near my station so they wouldn’t get lost. My mom would have been upset if he came home barefoot.) He even made some friends with another boy who was here with his parents. They went to every game and food station together and talked about their favorite candy. They even sat down on the grass at one point and traded candy while eating some cotton candy.

When the night was coming to a close, some church volunteers and members performed the usual skit, followed by a raffle! Our grand prizes were two Nintendo 3DS’s in blue and red. We were so lucky to have someone donate those and some other smaller prizes for the kids who stayed until the carnival ended. It made my night to see how much fun each kid got out of coming out to the church carnival. Each year it seems to get bigger and bigger. It’s truly a blessing for us to have people be so involved in the community we are settled in.

I didn’t get to bed until 3 a.m. We had to clean and pack up everything after the event ended at 10 p.m. When we finished at 11, I took my brothers home and stayed the night at my boyfriend’s house with his parents to finish more of the clean up and attend bible study the next day. Although the event got rough with me getting restless, it was still a success.

I can’t wait for next year’s Halloween carnival and to see those smiling kids’ faces again.


Erika Rico


[pullquote]Christina Zavaleta, second-year[/pullquote]

October 31, 2016

Dear Diary,

I’m so psyched to be spending Halloween with my friends again! It’s been awhile since we’ve all gotten together on this day. Actually, the last time we were all together on Halloween was a few years ago when we went trick-or-treating. What happened that night was probably a good reason for us to stop for the next few years and just chill out at someone’s house eating munchies and watching scary movies instead of prowling the streets for free candy. I will admit: I do think everyone missed it because we got to dress up, but sometimes even the simplest of costumes can do more than spook some people.

It was my sophomore year of high school, and we were just starting to explore our newfound freedom as young adults who’d just earned their licenses. Originally, the plan was to start our more tame tradition this year, but because someone had the car for the night, we all decided to throw together some last minute costumes and try our luck going door-to-door.

Among the costumes included a very poorly put together Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, an eskimo, a “Nudist On Strike” and a few sheet ghosts, one of which was me. We thought this plan was foolproof, and we even had some glow sticks to make us more festive and cool-looking. So, after preparing ourselves, we set out into the night to get our free candy that we would be collecting in reusable grocery bags.

After about an hour of trick-or-treating, we had filled up half of our grocery bags. We’d driven to the nicer part of town that is known for giving out a lot of candy to make our outing shorter. Once we reached the end of a cul-de-sac, we decided to take a breather and count our candy. Amidst the exchanging, someone had noticed that the glowsticks around my wrists were beginning to leak since they swore they had seen the side of my sheet glow slightly. I took them off and inspected them, noticing the slick feeling of the glow liquid seeping onto my fingers. I wiped it off on the sheet and asked them what I should do with it. I remember someone saying that the splattered glow liquid looked pretty cool on the sheet.

Before I knew it, we were intentionally breaking the glowsticks even more in an effort to milk out as much of the liquid as we could to smear and splatter it on my sheet and the others’ as well. We had one glow stick left over after we had finished our quick crafting session. Someone had then suggested to smear the glow liquid around the eye holes of the sheets to make it look even cooler. In hindsight, I should have realized at this point that the suggestion was thought out of pure idiocy and I should not have even considered doing something so absurd. But I did it anyway and immediately regretted it.

Before I knew it I was allowing my friends to smear the mysterious glow stick liquid close to the vulnerable and delicate organs of my face, and I was totally fine with it. Until it started to tingle a bit. Then it started to burn. And sting. It just really started to hurt. I ripped the sheet off of myself to air out my eyes. But to no avail, the pain continued to radiate around my eye sockets. I pleaded for my friends to find something to help calm the burning, and all they said was that I needed to wash it out. But no one had water and we were too many blocks away from the car to get urgent help. So, we did what we had been doing best that night: We rang a stranger’s doorbell and asked them if we could use their sink because I had gotten glow stick liquid in my eyes.

Thankfully, the strangers were very nice people who offered us a ride to the hospital if I was badly hurt by the toxic fumes and chemicals in the liquid that I voluntarily rubbed around my eyes. They gave us pumpkin cookies and candy and they did actually end up driving us back to our car, which we then rode all the way to the urgent care center to make sure I wasn’t going to go blind from the worst decision I’d ever made.

All was well at the end of the day, though, and now I’ll have a story to tell for many Halloweens to come. I might just bring it up again next Halloween!

-Christina Z.

Next week’s Highlander Diaries will be centered around Election Day, in which we ask that you relay a time when the quadrennial occurrence meant a lot to you: Was it in the last election you voted in, or a time when you were a kid watching your parents cast their ballots? Share your experience in 400-600 words and send it over to for a chance to get it published in our next issue!