Arts & Life, Features

Long Beach students share their most memorable Halloween stories

After the COVID-19 pandemic impacted last year’s Halloween festivities, Long Beach students are eager for this Sunday, Oct. as they prepare to create new memories. And in the spirit of Halloween, they reflected on some of their favorite experiences.

Film major Jessica Ocampo recalled the fun times she had trick-or-treating in the back of her father’s pickup truck while growing up in Northern California.

“He would invite all the kids in the neighborhood,” she said. “He owns a daycare too, so he would invite kids from the daycare and he would ride us around from house to house.”

To make it a more comfortable ride, Ocampo’s father would put hay bales for the kids to sit on. Kids would dress up in their costumes and ride in the back, making it feel like a parade float, she said.

“People would be exhausted from walking, and we were just like ‘hop on the trailer and go to the next house,” she said.

Unlike Ocampo’s experience, business management major Paris Caldera had an encounter she would never forget.

Caldera grew up in Burbank where one Halloween she came face-to-face with a man who was chasing trick-or-treaters with an active chainsaw.

Surrounded by a circle of candy, the man would let children try and run up and grab candy before revving the chainsaw. The blade had been removed to prevent injuries, but the noise scared the children and many were too intimidated to grab the candy.

“I was a kid,” she said. “I was like ‘I’m not gonna die today.’”

Caldera wasn’t the only student to experience someone taking horror up a notch on Halloween.

Greg Sklar, a business and information systems major, auditioned one year to be a scare actor for Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights.

He said that he had never acted before so he wasn’t very good, but there was one man in the group who was “absolutely phenomenal.”

During the audition, three cones representing three different guests that needed to be scared were placed for the actors.

Sklar said he saw the man walk up to the first two cones where he put on a scary face. During the final audition cone, he surprised everyone by bending backward crawling.

“He stopped for a second, turned around and went into an exorcist crawl,” Sklar said. “He did a full circle around this third cone while keeping like dead eye contact with it.”

Sklar said that this action was enough to elicit shock from even the most experienced actors.

“We were shocked that that was even humanly possible,” he said. “He was bending in certain ways that like, he looked like he actually needed an exorcism.”

With all the elements of hanging out with friends and staying out late, mixed in with a scary environment, Halloween has always produced stories for kids and teens to tell. Now that restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic have been lessened, it is likely to see more people out creating Halloween memories.

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