Ah, spooky season. The beginning of the last quarter of the year, a time when the sun starts to go down sooner, the nights get cooler, leaves change color, and you know fall is here. While some think Halloween and spooky season are reserved for the younger ones, it’s a time of year and holiday celebrated by those of all ages. And yes, there are plenty of 18-22+ year olds who take this holiday very seriously on campus. Before I get into some of the celebrating that goes on on campus, let me illustrate why Oberlin is the perfect backdrop for spooky season.
While many students enter Wilder Student Union on an almost daily basis, there are very rarely students on the fourth floor. Some might say this is because only OSCA offices and the Oberlin Outings Club office are situated on the fourth floor, but there’s an undeniable energy on the fourth floor that feels a bit eerie. The entire building is quite old, and the restrooms on upper floors reflect that. The tile is from a different decade, the lighting can be a little dimmer, and the fixtures just show signs of age. On the fourth floor, the restroom door tends to be propped open, which normally wouldn’t be an issue with me, except the mirrors above the sink reflect the empty hallway behind you. To me, that’s right out of a horror film. I’d probably scream if I was casually washing my hands and when I look up there’s someone behind me in the reflection. Normally, I don’t think about it too much, but I suppose everything’s a little extra scary this time of year.
Considering Oberlin as an institution has been around since the 1800s, it should come to no surprise that there is another building (well, specifically, its restroom) that I find historically beautiful but also a bit creepy at time. Peters Hall is a well-loved building. It has an observatory at the top, a beautiful wooden set of staircases that takes students from the first to second floor, and outside features that make you feel like you’re in Harry Potter. (Okay, a few buildings give that Harry Potter feel, I won’t lie.) One of the quirks of this building is that its first floor doesn’t have a restroom. If you’re on the first floor and need to use one, your closest options are either the second floor or the basement. I’m sure you guessed it just from that statement, but yes, the basement restroom can be a bit off-putting. I personally love it, but I have friends who’d much rather use the second-floor restroom than go to the basement. I’ll be honest, the restroom in the basement of Peters matches nothing I’ve seen on campus. It’s like you open the door to another time and place; one second it’s the 21st century and you’re in Oberlin, the next you’re a flapper girl in the 1920s using the restroom of a speakeasy and expecting everything to be in grayscale with some jazz playing in the background while a stranger approaches you asking for a cigarette. Okay, there’s a good chance absolutely none of that will happen; you’ll probably just take care of your business and leave. Maybe my imagination just wanders a bit, but there’s something special about the restroom in the basement of Peters that makes you feel like you’re in another time and place.
Historic buildings aside, Oberlin students just love Halloween and spooky things in general. Though I haven’t personally attended any, I’ve heard of students holding poetry readings late at night near the cemetery or at the Arb. Walking down the street, there’s plenty of homes with Jack-o-Lanterns or other Halloween decorations. Even in my dorm, myself and my neighbor have Halloween window clings hung up so we can show our festiveness. In previous years, my RAs have knocked at my door on Halloween to give me a candy bag. This year, I’ve been trying to coordinate a spooky movie marathon and a costume contest with friends. Even though I feel like I’m a little too old to go trick or treating, it’s still nice to appreciate the little things like costumes and candy on Halloween.
One of the things I learned about college is that at times it makes you want to be a kid again. Learning how to take care of yourself, your responsibilities, and make time for the fun stuff so you don’t get burnt out can be hard at first. It’s times like this that help me feel like I still have some of my youth left in me, and I feel that others likely have similar sentiments. I’ll always love spooky season in Oberlin, so if you haven’t yet, I hope you get the chance to as well.