Theme dinners have become a custom here at Elizabethtown College. The various theme dinners held are Final Exam Treats, TGIS Picnic, Convocation Picnic, Homecoming Dinner, Thanksgiving Dinner, Holiday Dinner and Halloween Dinner. All of the theme dinners reflect a time at Etown where everyone comes together to have fun.
The Halloween-themed dinner in particular allows students to dress-up, be frightened by staff and to step outside their comfort zones. However, not everyone likes to change their routine. Some may not like haunted things, even though there are people that love it. So, what aspects of Halloween do you like or do not like? Once you start thinking, you may think of Halloween as a time for candy, costumes, haunted hayrides, ghosts, pumpkins, witches or black cats. Most people love the candy aspect, but not everyone loves the other things such as haunted hayrides or frightening costumes. If you are one of those people, you can probably say that the Halloween Dinner is not for you.
Surely, the intention of having a Halloween Dinner is good and not intended to upset anyone. “I think it is a fun time for the employees. They get to interact with the students that are not in the Dining Services,” dining services employee, sophomore Nina Wheeler, said. “It is exciting for them to not only dress up but to design the food. Me personally when I went last year, one of the full-time staff members scared the heck out of me, but all my friends got a laugh out of it along with the employee. So in the end I thought that it was good to see the staff members enjoying themselves so much.” So maybe, the Halloween decorations and food are great, just not so much the scary costumes.
These scary costumes are supposed to chase away evil spirits, which is what Halloween is all about. However, for example, a lot of us went trick or treating with our friends as kids. We dressed up as witches, princesses, superheroes, monsters, villains etc…. Some of us avoided the haunted aspect. We dressed up, got candy and that was it. We did not go to that neighbor’s garage that had fog and flashing lights that scared us. Others would run straight up to the house. So whether you ran up or stayed on the sidewalk, you made that decision based on personal preference. Since dinner is a part of everyone’s daily schedule, those who do not like the scariness of Halloween should be able to eat and opt out of the haunted aspect, right?
Maybe a haunted house in the BSC would be great; you can choose to go not to. It would allow everyone to enjoy Halloween the way they want. “I recognize that some of people may be genuinely frightened. So cutting out the spooky dinner but replacing it with a haunted house would be a really good solution,” Wheeler said. You would have the ability to eat regularly and decide to avoid or not avoid the haunted part.
From personal experience, I know I prefer to avoid the haunted part all together. Last year I attended the Halloween Dinner and was surprised by my experience. If I had know that there were going to be scary people, I would have not attended. However, I was not and the whole night one character in particular would randomly keep scaring me. I did not think much of it until work the next day in the Jays. My co-worker told me she was the woman who was scaring me throughout the night. I was shocked and would have never expected it. The question that came to my mind after she told me was, why had no one informed me what the Halloween dinner entailed? Maybe if prior warning was given, people could choose to eat dinner somewhere else.
Whether you are uncomfortable or not with the Halloween Dinner, it is obvious that it is controversial; this is because everyone feels different about being scared, just like how some people enjoy watching scary movies and others do not. However, the theme dinners are a great idea and really add a touch of character to Etown College.