Who needs the orange Jack-o-lanterns, plastic spider-webs, and cheap décor that students are taping to their windows and doors in my dorm? A free and more convincing Halloween scene can be found in the autumn scene outdoors.
My college campus is ready for Halloween. Dry leaves rustle in the trees and on the ground. Bad luck cracks zigzag the sidewalks. Scrawny black cats alternately hover for scraps and dash away in alarm, crossing paths with dozens of doomed students daily. At night, the new dorm that is under construction exudes the presence of a haunted house. The glassless windows gape deep black in the dusk, and sheets of plastic fly loose from the plywood frame, rustling, whispering, and flapping in the wind as I walk by at night. Bony trees finger the sky, the final tatters of leaves barely clinging on. Dark grey clouds smother the fat half-moon and splash the sky with dark and light blotches like a predator’s pelt. Spiders encroach on classrooms and dorm rooms, prowling on the floor or skittering across notebooks and desks.
The real Halloween scene is all around me, not confined to dangling Kleenex-like ghosts or strings of plastic eyeball lights.
Combined and described, these scenes create one creepy and doubtful compilation. Yet, I have actually observed all these animals, objects, sights, and sounds over the course of my month back at college. When I realized how all these observations reminded me of Halloween, I decided to describe them and spin them all together into one unified scene. In spite of the picture I have been able to paint with these moments of reality, I am the first to admit that my campus is in fact quite pretty and welcoming, and the spiders are really the only part of the Halloween scene that has given me the creeps.