If the title has not clued you in yet I am very into Halloween, an obsession only exacerbated by the changing seasons. Being from Hawaii and never having experienced a true fall I was more than a little eager to experience the full hype of East coast style Halloween. Walking onto campus I could hardly be bothered to watch where I was going as I was too busy scanning the tree tops for any hints of the red foliage that I had been promised. I know some of you mainlanders are probably rolling your eyes at my naivety (of course the leaves wouldn’t be red yet at the beginning of September), but in my defense I grew up on an island that only had one season: summer. With my first Halloween related heart break out of the way I shifted my focus to setting up my area in the cabin. I was the first of my cabin mates to arrive on campus (shout out to the rest of Orchard Cabin) so I had the space more or less to myself. The thing about being the first one in your cabin to arrive is that you don’t really know what to expect. The idea that you’re going to be living with 5-7 other people for the next 4 months doesn’t seem real; until your first cabin mate arrives that is.
For me seeing my roommates trickle in over the next few hours was terrifying. They all seemed sweet but unlikely to be Halloween enthusiasts, which meant I was likely to be the odd one out (It didn’t help that stores were already fully stocked with Halloween decor, leading to me exclusively purchasing halloween themed school supplies and bedding). There were so many things going through my mind: What if I’m not what they were expecting? What if they aren’t what I’m expecting? What if they hate Halloween? Yeah that last one seems silly, but it was a legitimate concern for me. For some reason it was easier to fret about whether or not my cabin mates would like my favorite holiday than to acknowledge my fears of disappointing others by not fitting their idea of what “the girl from Hawaii” would be like. By 3pm all but one of our cabin mates had arrived and we had begun the customary awkward introductions. We all threw out vague ice breaker questions from our areas, hesitant to look at each other, instead finding contentment in tidying our individual bunks. During a particularly awkward moment of silence one girl even announced her discomfort yelling “I can’t wait until this isn’t awkward anymore.”
Strangely despite my frivolous fear of being stuck with 5 halloween hating heretics, Halloween was actually the first thing we had bonded over and remains one of our main sources of excitement for the future. After a bit of tense back and forth I eventually ended up asking out right, “So do you guys like Halloween?”. The girl in the bunk across the room from me responded by pulling out a small bag of decorative pumpkins with a grin. She let each of us choose a pumpkin or two of varying shades to decorate our area with. I think the entire situation was so ridiculous that it no longer seemed worth it to expend energy being nervous or awkward. So instead we decided to begin planning our hopes for the cabin centered around a shared love for Halloween.
I know it seems silly but that was genuinely what my cabin bonded over, to this day we have conversations about the types of decorations we want to put up around the cabin. Which is all a long and tedious way of saying everyone is awkward and feels weird at first, but it will pass. Eventually you’ll find that all the quirks and strange appreciations you’re nervous about are a lot more normal than you would think. And also that people universally love Halloween and anyone who says they don’t is clearly lying (I’m just kidding, feel free to hate Halloween). Just don’t hide the things you like because you think others will judge you for them, it might end up being the thing that brings you together.
Malia Abreu, Le Jardin Academy, Kailua, HI