Column: Nightmare on Chaparal Street

Halloween at Archer


Isabel Adler ’17 shows off her non-scary Halloween costume.

If you know me at all, you know that I can’t stand horror movies. The scariest thing I’ve ever watched is Indiana Jones.

“But Isabel,” you say, “Indiana Jones isn’t scary at all.” Case in point. I just don’t do scary.

But it’s October, and you know what that means. It is time for alone-in-your-bed-at-night, creaking house, eerie knock-at-the-door stories. The other day, I had to actually walk out of my math class because we were telling creepy stories, and I couldn’t handle it.

If you know Archer at all, you know that Halloween is one of the most beloved traditions on campus. Like spirit week, it is silly, festive and comforting. In my humble opinion, it is probably the most special day of the year. And despite my unusually strong dislike for all things disturbing, the senior’s haunted house is always my favorite part of Archer Halloween. I remember being in sixth grade and going through it, in awe of the magic that transforms the school basement into an unfamiliar place.

The best part of the haunted house is seeing the theme that the seniors have chosen. I have been to cursed mansions, haunted Archer and a sweet sixteen (among others). And though everyone you ask will have a special affection for one particular theme, all of them are successful and fun.

Every year, I face the question of which part of my costume will fall off/get caught/give me blisters during the haunted house. One year I wore a hoop skirt that had about a five-foot diameter. Let’s just say that at the end of the Haunted House, I was an oval. Another year, my pope hat fell off somewhere between the ceramics room and the stair case, and I had to hike back through the sinister senior-creatures to find it. 

Of course, there is always a scramble to be in a group with friends rather than a random gaggle of girls from another grade that was accidentally mixed in with yours. Part of the fun of the entire experience is dramatically clinging to your friend’s arm as you shimmy through the hallway, trying to avoid accidentally grazing the hem of any senior’s costume. Especially in middle school, I’d calculate exactly what period we would likely go through and who would be in my class during that time.

It’s hard to wrap my head around being a senior this year and having to actually design and execute (no pun intended) the haunted house. Sometimes I think about the fact that each class, including the current sixth graders, will have haunted houses that I’ll never get to experience.

The Class of 2017 will be long gone at that point, and like all the others we have witnessed during our time at Archer, our haunted house will be just a ghost (this time, pun was intended) of Halloweens past.