Halloween in lockdown: a gift in disguise

October 11, 2020 — by Kavita Sundaram

My family has never been one for Halloween. My mom refused to buy cheap, disposable costumes from Party City and was strongly opposed to handing out handfuls of sugar to young kids. 

Still, although the concept of “fall holiday spirit” was somewhat alien to me when I was younger, I was intrigued. So I have spent the past five or so years trying to replicate my depiction of the perfect fall. 

No, this does not entail store-bought costumes, trick-or-treating or pumpkin carving (my artistic skills are abysmal). 

The first essential aspect of the perfect fall is the timeless, stunning, “Harry Potter” series. Call me elementary, but I have yet to find a better movie or book that brings me back to my childhood, entertains me and gets me into the holiday spirit all at the same time. 

With every “Bloody hell!” and “It’s wingardium Leviosa, not leviosa,” my spirits truly soar. 

So with a good book in hand, it’s best to grab a blanket, light your fireplace (or play a video of one — desperate times call for desperate measures) and snuggle up with a kitty. Yes, cats are extremely important to the equation. 

And, of course, there is the music. By music, I don’t mean the cheesy and overplayed holiday tunes of the season like “The Monster Mash” but rather any song that one feels compelled to belt their lungs out to. 

For me, it’s ABBA, Adele or Queen, but frankly anything with a powerful lead vocal works fine. (Have some hot tea ready in case you lose your voice.) The holidays are a time to humiliate yourself without any second thoughts, and this is the perfect way to do so. 

On top of this, like any other person, one of my favorite parts of fall is baking, as long as it’s not anything pumpkin-based. I know, fall is centered on a cornucopia of pumpkin-flavored everything, but why hasn’t anyone stopped to ask whether a vegetable truly belongs in dessert? Because frankly, it doesn’t. It’s like eating roasted vegetables for dessert — a hard no. 

So stick to some tried and true desserts like apple pie, pecan pie and my personal favorite, dark chocolate lava cake — perfect for any time of the year, no matter what Hallmark tells us.  

There’s nothing better than lighting a vanilla-scented candle, baking the whole day and getting rewarded with an entire pie to eat at the end of the day. 

As for candy, it’s definitely not something I would recommend. Trick-or-treating is fun, but I find candy to be a poor excuse of a sweet when I could just eat chocolate instead. And since I won’t be trick-or-treating this year due to COVID-19 anyway, it’s the perfect time to stock up on some high quality dark chocolate and devour it throughout the season.  

So this fall holiday season, since the likelihood of participating in traditional Halloween activities like trick-or-treating is low, try relaxing by baking, reading and eating chocolate — anything to get in the holiday spirit and forget about the stress of school and COVID-19. Dressing up in stereotypical costumes doesn’t always live up to its reputation, and there are so many other ways to have a good time. 

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Junior Daniel Jiang prepares to make a goal during an after school water polo practice at SHS's swimming pool on Sept. 16. Photo by Selina Chen

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