Image provided by author.
As you walk down a certain hallway in the lower E Building, all of the classrooms you encounter will be unremarkable, except for one. This particular classroom, E225, celebrates Halloween year-round. As you enter, you are greeted by a big black throne framed by a string of lights hanging from the walls. Pumpkins, ghosts, and masks are littered everywhere. At the front of the classroom lies a giant lectern covered in cobwebs and a table with Halloween decorations strewn on top. The primary colors in this world are orange, black, and white. The aroma of cinnamon pumpkin spice pervades the air. This feeling of eeriness and excitement adds to your new profound sense of curiosity to find out what it’s all about.
Throughout the calendar year, holidays come and go, yet this classroom’s central theme remains unchanged, with only minor elements from other holidays making their presence known. For example, during Christmas, some pumpkins wear Santa Claus hats and the cobwebs are drenched in fake snow. But just like Halloween Town from “The Nightmare Before Christmas”, the Spirit of Halloween will always remain in E225.
The curator and high priest of this parallel world is English teacher Mr. Hagmann, whose love for Halloween is not just confined to decor. It appears in various Halloween traditions, such as his playlists of “spooky movies to watch, which include Dracula, The Blob, Beetlejuice, ”and “a reading list of scary novels.” This year, he plans to go all out and add a “black tree with lights and pumpkins, jack-o-lanterns,” and light-up figurines.
Even though many did not celebrate Halloween during the Covid-19 pandemic, Mr. Hagmann decorated his house inside and out and hosted a virtual movie night, during which he played “a few spooky movies for friends and made [his] own Halloween TV special for them.” As fun as that experience was, he still looks forward to this year’s “in-person for most” Halloween. His only regret is that it will end too quickly. “Since Halloween this year lands on a Sunday, it will be more of a relaxed day,” he says, but Mr. Hagmann still looks forward to “future years when there are more community activities to take part in.”
Though the other holidays are enjoyable, Halloween has always been Mr. Hagmann’s favorite because it “is more about spending time with other people, even people we don’t know, rather than spending time with family.” He adds on, saying “There are several great ‘family’ holidays, but Halloween is great for meeting your neighbors and opening your door to those around you.” Getting to spend time with people he doesn’t normally interact with helps him grow his bond with his community.
Halloween is the“different holiday” that inspires Mr. Hagman and other Halloween enthusiasts to go all out in order to make every year better than the last. This is what drives Mr. Hagmann to maintain that energy and environment of Halloween throughout the entire year.
“When else is there a chance to take things that scare us and turn them into a joke?” he says.
Being able to laugh about your fears, enjoy the imaginary elements of Halloween, and feel excitement every fall is what Mr. Hagmann’s classroom is all about. To Mr. Hagmann, enjoying the spirit of Halloween and spending time with others is the heart of this holiday.