Why Halloween is Scary for Our Planet: How to Have a Sustainable Halloween

by Kaelin Ferland '23
Opinion Staff


Campus


Photo courtesy of flickr

With Halloween right around the corner, many of us are starting to prepare for costumes and parties. Most of these preparations are often unsustainable and it’s important to consider alternatives that are less environmentally harmful.  

According to a study from the United Kingdom, seven million costumes are thrown away each year in that country alone. This is equal to 2,000 metric tons of plastic or 83 million plastic water bottles. One of the most popular materials used in costume production is polyester, accounting for about 69 percent of all costume materials. To reduce plastic waste in this area, try buying costumes that aren’t made of polyester. You can also donate or give your costume to a friend to reuse next year. An even better solution is to go thrifting for a costume and purchase items that you can wear after Halloween is over. There’s no point in buying something that you’ll only wear once. Thrifting is also much more ethical than fast fashion websites.  

These costume statistics, however, don’t include the plastic waste associated with candy wrappers and packaging. Americans spent 2.6 billion dollars on Halloween candy in 2019, equivalent to 600 million pounds of candy. Because candy wrappers aren’t made with recyclable materials, this means that billions of wrappers will be thrown into landfills. To add to this issue, plastic is primarily composed of oil, a fossil fuel, which further worsens the environmental impact of plastic. To help minimize candy wrapper waste, you should look for candy that comes in cardboard or paper, as these materials are recyclable. 

Another unsustainable Halloween tradition is pumpkin carving. While it may not be obvious, there are many different reasons why this activity is harmful to our planet. According to the World Economic Forum, 900,000 metric tons of pumpkins are thrown away in the United States every year. In the United Kingdom, 95 percent of pumpkins grown annually are used for Halloween. Because most of these pumpkins will be used for carving and subsequently thrown away, this means that 18,000 metric tons of pumpkins will end up in landfills. This poses an issue in terms of food waste and greenhouse gas emissions, as well as waste associated with pumpkin cultivation.  

Like the rest of our food waste, as pumpkins decompose, they release methane and carbon dioxide. These greenhouse gasses contribute to global warming. The United Nations states that about 8 percent of all greenhouse emissions are the result of food waste. Because of the significant number of pumpkins wasted around the world, it is undeniable that they will have a large contribution to global warming. If we are growing pumpkins for the sole purpose of carving them and then throwing them away once Halloween is over, this is an unnecessary waste of resources like cropland and water. Instead of buying real pumpkins to carve, buy a fake, hollow pumpkin from a craft store. They look realistic and you can reuse them year after year. 

Halloween doesn’t have to be scary for our planet. It’s easy to make different choices and changes to make it a more sustainable and less wasteful holiday.  

The Fork Ran Away, But the Spoon Came Back for Revenge

by The Cowl Editor


Halloween


Photo courtesy of pixabay.com

by Sarah McLaughlin ’23

 

It all started with one simple question: Should you eat mac and cheese with a fork or with a spoon?

“A spoon, obviously,” Genevieve says. “It provides the utility for maximum scoopage.”

Britney rolls her eyes. “A fork can scoop, too, idiot. And you can stab the noodles. It gives you options.

“Guys,” I interrupt. “This is so pointless.”

“Just like a spoon,” Britney mutters. I shoot her a glare.

“Let’s just all agree to disagree and go to bed,” I say, walking over to the kitchen with my empty bowl (and fork, because that’s obviously the right answer, but I wasn’t going to spend another hour fighting about it).

About thirty minutes later, we’re all tucked into bed (or, in my case, lying on top of my covers—even in late October with the windows open, the air in the apartment is somehow sweltering). I’m on my phone, and Genevieve and Britney have both fallen silent, so I figure they’re asleep, but then Genevieve hums softly.

“Do you guys remember that viral video from, like, 2009? ‘The Horribly Slow Murderer with the Extremely Inefficient Weapon’?”

“Is that the one where he killed the guy by following him around and beating him to death with a spoon?”

“Yeah,” Genevieve says. “See? Another reason why spoons are superior.”

“It’s literally called ‘horribly slow’ and ‘extremely inefficient.’”

“I’m going to murder you in your sleep with a spoon and then you can tell me how slow and inefficient it is.”

“Shut up, guys,” I mumble, rolling over onto my stomach. “I have an 8:30 tomorrow.”

Genevieve and Britney giggle in unison, but they do quiet down, and it’s only a few minutes before I succumb to sleep.

It seems like mere seconds pass before I wake up with a start. I swear I just heard something metallic, like a sword being pulled from its sheath, but maybe I’ve just been reading too much King Arthur for my English class. Still, it sends a chill down my spine, and I sit bolt upright.

It takes a moment for me to notice something thin and cold pressing against my neck.

My body freezes. I try to glance down, but whatever is touching me is too small to see. Is someone behind me? I don’t feel a warm presence or hear anyone’s breath. The room is pitch black save for the distant orange glow of my laptop charger, but I’m pretty sure if there was an arm holding something, I would be able to see it.

“Hello?” I whisper.

Hello, something whispers back. I don’t even know if I can call it a voice. It’s metallic, like the noise that must have woken me up, and it sounds like a metal utensil scratching and squeaking against a ceramic plate—one of those sounds that instantly sets my nerves aflame.

“Who—who are you?” I manage.

Who do you think I am?

The cold thing seems to press deeper into my skin. It feels sharper now.

“What?” I gasp. “Is this, like—a sentient knife?”

Try again, the voice says.

I think back to last night’s conversation, and dread grows in my stomach. “A—a fork?”

But as soon as I say it, I know I’m wrong.

You fool, the voice hisses. If only you had been on my side. I’ll make you wish you had defended my honor.

“Wait!” I exclaim, wincing at the pain against my throat. “You’re—you’re great for ice cream! And soup! And—and hot chocolate before it’s cooled down—”

But I’m too late.

Students Safely Celebrate a Spook-tacular Halloween

by The Cowl Editor


Campus


photo courtesy of stickpng.com

By Max Waite ’21

News Staff

Last week, spooky season arrived on the Providence College campus. This was not your typical Halloween in Friartown, as students were confined to their pods to respect social distancing guidelines. The same rules applied to off-campus students, who were advised to stay in their homes for the duration of the weekend.

Halloween weekend is always a memorable experience for PC students. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought many obstructions to everyday life and common traditions from the past. Thus, students were not necessarily able to experience Halloween in the traditional sense. Nevertheless, students were encouraged to make the most out of the weekend in a safe and respectable manner.

Prior to the weekend, all off-campus students received an email from Shannon Russell at the 02908 Club with recommendations for the weekend. Social distancing, remaining in pods, wearing masks indoors and outdoors, and respectable noise levels were among some of the requirements listed in the email. 

Earlier in the week, Governor Gina Raimondo ordered Providence Police to issue $500 dollar fines to individuals found at parties that did not follow social distancing guidelines. There was also fear of the “Purge of Providence” that was supposedly going to occur over the weekend. Luckily, the culprit organizing the event was arrested shortly before the weekend began.

Timothy Siemen ’21 is one of the many off-campus students that did their part to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Siemen said, “I had broken my collarbone the previous week while riding an electric scooter, so I took advantage of my time indoors by rehabilitating from my injury. The surgery was incredibly painful, so I’m really glad that I had my roommates there to cheer me up. We had a lot of laughs and made lots of memories!”

Among the on-campus students, student-athlete Sean Meehan ’22 had a similar experience in Davis Hall. Meehan stated, “Even though I couldn’t go anywhere, I really enjoyed wearing my costume in my apartment. I would have liked to show my Elvis costume off a little more, but I’m happy with how it was received by my roommates.”

With COVID-19 cases increasing exponentially within our area, it is great to see that Halloween weekend did not impede any of the College’s progress concerning the virus. As a result of the increase in Rhode Island’s cases, though, Governor Raimondo issued several new COVID-19 guidelines similar to those in Massachusetts and Connecticut. Effective Nov. 8, there is a stay-at-home advisory from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. on weeknights and 10:30 p.m. to 5 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Groups of no more than 10 are allowed. Bars and restaurants must close at 10 p.m. on weeknights and 10:30 p.m. on weekends, while keeping the social gathering limit at the mandated level.

As Thanksgiving break approaches, the Providence College community needs to do its best to proactively prevent the spread of the virus. The fall semester is coming to a close, but the possibility of bringing the virus back home to Friar families and at-risk relatives remains a concern. Remember to wear a mask, social distance, and stay safe!

Listomania: Things I Wish I Didn’t Do Halloween Weekend

by The Cowl Editor


Features


Die

Start a COVID-19 outbreak

Go to an Eaton Street party

Sleepover at Guz

Dress up as Friar Dom instead of Huxley

Overdose on candy corn 

Hookup with my ex twice (they were in different costumes)

The Monster Mash

Dress up like a doctor

Get a pumpkin stuck on my head 

Go to a school-hosted event (stuck in the Escape Room)

Wear the wrong costume in a matching set

Hang out with the demons my neighbors were conjuring

Tiff and Earl

by The Cowl Editor


Features


Dear Tiff & Earl,

My neighbors across the hall are violating their pod by summoning spirits. The demons aren’t social distancing or wearing masks. How do I report them?

Sincerely,
In Need of an Exorcist and a Vaccine

 

Dear Vac-orcist,

While interacting with people outside of your pod is not the best idea and masks should be worn at all times, I think your main concern should be that there are DEMONS from the GREAT BEYOND in your DORM! Unless you’re living in the tunnels, that is highly concerning and rather uncomfy. Emailing FixIt will not help you in this case. I think you need to take some more drastic measures. Perhaps enlisting the Ghostbusters might be in your best interest.

Bewarefully,
Tiff

 

Dear Reader,

Luckily, as everyone knows, demons cannot contract COVID-19. I would, however, be more concerned with them stealing your soul. A quick email to your neighbors explaining your concerns should suffice. You perhaps could suggest other, more safe activities to them, such as hunting Sasquatch or communicating with Satan.

Dreadfully,
Earl

 

Mud Pact

by The Cowl Editor


Halloween


frog
Photo courtesy of pexels.com

by Sarah McLaughlin ’23

We could usually all fit underneath the slide.

It was stuffy and we were squished against each other like sardines, but we had enough room to do what we had to do. There were only five of us, after all. Only five of us were brave enough. We called the rest of the kids names since they didn’t want to join us. The ones who told on us to the teacher were the worst, but Miss Sparks never stopped us because she didn’t believe them. I think some of the other kids didn’t believe us either.

Tommy was the one who got the frogs. I don’t know where he found them. He always said he had a lake in his backyard and he’d swim to the bottom, but I never believed him. I think he caught them on the side of the road, because I’ve seen them flattened and dried up in the sun in the school parking lot. 

A lot of kids called us weird, but Tommy was the weirdest of us all. Every day, he came to school with a Tupperware container with a red lid. I always wondered if he stole it from his parents, and if they ever found out what he was doing. Mine never did. Leo stopped doing it with us because he said his mom got mad when he threw up and had to get picked up from school early. I heard he had to go to the hospital and get a needle stuck in his arm.

I’d never had a needle stuck in my arm, and I had done it twice now. Some kids’ names had been picked more often—Sally had done it four times. Tommy had done it three, but I think sometimes he secretly wrote his name down twice. I’d seen him put two pieces of paper into my baseball cap as I held it out in the middle of our circle.

As soon as the bell rang for recess, we headed for the playground. We used the slide in the back, because it was dark and damp and Sally said that’s what the frogs like. I thought she was right, because Miss Sparks taught us about frogs in science class. We didn’t pay much attention that day since we were all giggling at each other, but I remembered her talking about their life cycle—how they start off in the pond as tadpoles and then grow legs. I wondered if that’s how I grew legs, too, and I just didn’t remember it.

That day, it was raining. We all squished ourselves a little closer together than usual since we wanted to stay dry. It pelted the tin slide above us and sounded like a bin of LEGOs falling on somebody’s head. Our light blue uniform shirts were so damp already that they looked more like navy.

My hat was wet, and so was the paper. Harry was supposed to bring his pencil, but he forgot, so after I tore the paper into five wet pieces we dipped the tips of our fingers in the mud and used it to write our initials. My “N” looked more like an “H.” I decided I wasn’t going to say anything if it got picked and they thought it wasn’t mine. I had eaten a bologna sandwich for lunch and was feeling a little queasy.

Once the papers were in the hat, I took it back and shook it around. Some of the mud had dried a little and fell off, but I figured it was okay. Louis was the one who drew the name. He picked out the paper, opened it, and said it was Harry. I held my breath. Harry nodded, water dripping from his hair and running down his face. His skin looked white.

Then it was time for Tommy to take it out. He unzipped his Spiderman backpack and took out the container. Before he opened it, I could only see a black shadow of it pressed up against the side. It looked like a big one.

When he took off the lid, it jumped. It landed in my hat, thankfully, so I grabbed it with my other hand and squeezed it tight so it wouldn’t escape. We all laughed, except Harry.

It was starting to squirm in my hand, so I held it out to Harry. He put his hands out like how Miss Sparks told us to hold them for Communion in church. I told him he needed to hold on tight or it was going to hop away. He nodded really fast.

I placed it into his hand, still holding on for a second, and then let go. He put his other hand on top to squish it like a sandwich. I wondered, if you put bread around it, if it would taste anything like bologna.

“Count of three,” Tommy said. He was always the one who said it.

“Wait,” Harry said. “I’ve never done it before. Does it taste really bad?”

“Yeah,” Sally said, while Louis said, “No.”

“Just do it,” I said. I didn’t want them to discover that it was maybe supposed to be my turn. While they were watching Harry, I grabbed the rest of the paper scraps from the hat and crushed them in my fist.

“Okay,” Harry said. “Okay. Okay.” He said “okay” a few more times.

“Do it,” Tommy said. “If you start crying, we’re gonna get caught.”

I think it was that idea that finally spurred him on. He opened his mouth wide, tipped his head back, and held his hands up above it. One of the webbed feet was dangling down, already on its way to his throat. Then he opened his hand, and it made a plop sound.

As soon as he swallowed—I saw the bulge in his throat—he screamed. Tommy reached over and clamped his hand over his mouth, and he didn’t stop. I thought Miss Sparks was going to hear him. But then he stopped, and when Tommy pulled his hands away, his lips were blue.

“I think I’m gonna throw up,” he said. He was really quiet. “I need to call my mom.”

“No, you don’t,” Tommy said. “If you throw up, just do it right here. You’re gonna get us in trouble.”

“I’m gonna throw up,” Harry said again. “I’m gonna throw up.”

“Ew,” Sally said. “If he throws up, I’m gonna throw up, too.”

“Shut up,” Louis said. “Everybody shut up. Miss Sparks is gonna hear us.”

I didn’t think anyone would hear us talking, because the rain kept pounding on the slide. But if someone threw up, somebody else would definitely see us.

“I hope I get picked next week,” Tommy said. “I’ll show you guys how it’s done. You’re all scaredy-cats.”

“Here,” I said to Harry. I passed him my hat.

 

Among Us

by The Cowl Editor


Halloween


galaxy with a red light
Graphic design by Sarah McLaughlin ’23

by Sam Ward ’21

What made you, killer?
Like some deranged son of Cain,
Primordial vision on predatory
Impulses pulled from your
Triune brain off kilter,
Are you reptilian or a person?

Who awoke you, monster?
Your limbic still intact
Except for the pleasure
Derived from bloodlust and
Philic for dormant urges,
That should remain latent.

Why are you, devil?
Kill the innocent but they are no
sacrificial lamb, just new followers
For your Church of Shadows,
Every body a trophy,
Everybody a victim.

What now, demon?
Made or unmade, just disappearing
Differences, scolding hot inside
The icy channels of our minds.

We all have monsters,
Under our beds and inside our hearts.
We have a lot to reckon with.
There is a killer in all of us.

 

Who is Following Me?

by The Cowl Editor


Halloween


woman silhouette
Photo courtesy of unsplash.com; graphic design by Sarah McLaughlin ’23

by Mariela Flores ’23

There is someone following me.
I can hear their footsteps and the way that they mimic my own. Their smell is familiar and strong, and it makes me sick to my stomach. They follow me as I go left and right, they follow me as I step onto the bus and step off, and they follow me as I sit down.
I can hear my heartbeat and how it threatens to leap out of my chest. I stare at my nails, chipping away the polish. I want to look distracted and unaware
that there is someone following me.

I step off the bus and I can feel them smiling. Their presence envelops me, and my palms begin to sweat. I want to turn around, I want to scream and shout, but my words get stuck in the promise of asking for help.
My feet begin to tire as I walk as fast as I can; I want to run and move away, find somewhere safe to stay, but they will not leave me, no, they will not leave me.

Someone is following me as I enter my home.
They try so hard not to make it known, but my tears are welling up in my eyes and I begin to shake. As I walk into the bathroom, I fear I made a mistake.

Someone is following me as I step into the shower and I can hear them just beyond the curtain. They begin to laugh, and I begin to cry. There is nothing left to do but to face them and look them in the eyes.

I step out now, afraid of what I’ll see.

But I look into the mirror, and all I see is me.

 

Friartire: Zombie Cases Rise Days after Darty

by The Cowl Editor


Halloween


zombie cartoon
Photo courtesy of pixabay.com; graphic design by Sarah Kirchner ’21

by Tom Brainy ’21

As the zombie plague spreads across the eastern United States, Providence College has been largely unaffected. The walls built in the beginning of the semester to separate the campus from surrounding neighborhoods appear to have succeeded in their purpose of protecting students from the disease—until now, that is. 

Last Saturday, some students held a day party, otherwise known as a “darty,” in off-campus housing. Despite PC administration’s warnings to remain socially distant and to not interact with people outside of your pod, this darty appeared to violate those rules. Only a few days later, we have already started to see a spike in zombie infections among off-campus students.

“My roommate started to look a little sick a few days ago,” said John McWhite ’21. “I thought he was just hungover, until he tried to take a bite out of my arm!” 

The zombie plague is known to mostly affect the elderly and at-risk populations. In severe instances, those infected attempt to eat the brains of non-infected people. In mild cases, symptoms may include an appetite for a carnivore diet and attempted cannibalism. While younger and healthier people tend to have more mild infections, they are still contagious if they bite non-infected people.

According to the Providence College Zombie Plague Protocol Team, around 100 students have reported being bitten or are suspected of being bitten, the vast majority of which attended last Saturday’s darty. Although those infected lived outside the protective wall, as students they were permitted to enter. As a result, cases spread inside the campus as well. 

Fr. Ricard released a statement earlier today, stating, “I send everyone thoughts and prayers in this trying time. Even if you are at risk for having your brain eaten, you should still be hard at work studying for those midterms.” He did not respond to questions about the outbreak’s effect on the innocent residential population around the College.

 

Listomania: 2020 Halloween Costumes

by The Cowl Editor


Features


Carole Baskin

Guillotine-decapitated Marie Antoinette

The fly on Mike Pence’s head

Father Shanley

Among Us characters

My midterm grades

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

COVID-19 vaccine

Murder hornet

Whipped coffee

Sourdough bread

Sexy postal worker (#buysomestamps)

A ballot

Andrew Cuomo

Fran and Dot

Anything respectful of other cultures