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Halloween party culture: gone too far?


Glow-in-the-dark lights, spooky drinks, and most of all, partying — Halloween naturally stirs the pot of anticipation surrounding these activities. While many may be brainstorming ideas for costumes for such parties, there are some who may be wondering whether they should go out on Halloween night at all due to matters of safety.

“I don’t think I’ll dress up at all this year,” Hannah Park (9) said. “I feel like the Itaewon incident from last year took a lot of the spirit of Halloween away.”

Sullen memories of the holiday may flood the minds of the family members or victims of the Itaewon crowd crush from the Halloween celebrations last year, which claimed 158 lives due to the unorganized festivities and overcrowding. 

Due to the Itaewon tragedy, bar and nightclub owners did not promote Halloween-themed events this year, and officials banned Halloween festivities in Hongdae. 

Other than the dangers of crowd crushing during the party culture of Halloween amid celebrations, it is reported that students drink  six alcoholic beverages on average while partying on Halloween, which is almost double the amount of what they consume on a regular weekend. Such excessive drinking due to all of the excitement regarding the holiday leads to more blackouts and car accidents compared to other days of the year. 

So, is Halloween getting too dangerous to treat as lightly as we did before? 

Furthermore, such celebrations are accompanied with wild costumes, some of which may go beyond the line of what is deemed appropriate. One example of this is the generalization of cultural groups to dress up as, such as “Mexican,” where people wear sombreros, ponchos, mustaches, and more. 

Similarly, there is the “Native American” costume of a person wearing fringe, fake suede, feathers, and braids. Such a costume groups a culture full of colorful traditions and backstories into one stereotypical representation of it. Whether these costumes were intentionally offensive or not, Halloween no doubt acts as an excuse to promote these stereotypes. 

However, in our SIS community, some students scrambled for ideas of Halloween costumes to attain a sliver of extra credit for their AP courses, ranging all the way from enzymes to Abraham Lincoln. 

“I went as a phospholipid,” said Seungmin Jeong (10), AP Biology student. “A lot of other people did as well, but I don’t think it mattered because we get the credit regardless.”

These costumes pose no risk of any sort of cultural appropriation and end with everyone having an agreeable time brainstorming for their costumes and eventually being delighted by a few points added to boost their AP grade. 

With such harmless celebrations in mind, there are still many who believe that Halloween can be the sweet holiday we expect it to be. 

“We can’t shut down the whole fun because of certain groups of people who make it get out of hand,” Hallie Lee, English 10 teacher, said. “What happened in Itaewon last year got out of hand because too many people were involved and there wasn’t enough administration, but is that the same kind of event that’s related to the kidnapping and harassment? It’s a slippery slope. We can’t conclude that that defines Halloween.”

Despite the evident dangers regarding the growing party culture and the costumes that accompany it, with such innocent yet entertaining celebrations for Halloween hosted in SIS, perhaps with the safety precautions to be taken this year, Halloween can still be the mystical event we reminisce upon.

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About the Contributor
Jiah Hwang, Reporter
Jiah Hwang is a sophomore at Tiger Times Online. In her free time, she loves to read books, especially historical fiction and fantasy. She also enjoys listening to music, drawing, and watching old movies. Feel free to ask her about book recommendations!

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