Halloween 2021 at BCA: What Went Down


Pumpkin sculpting 2021

Elena Jacoby and Cadee Lee

Halloween at Bergen County Academies has always been considered one of the highlights of the school year. The Halloween assembly, costume parade, and Haunted Mansion have always been a huge part of BCA culture. However, this was the first Halloween at BCA for many students, and unfortunately, it didn’t look like those in past years.

In years prior, the Halloween Assembly consisted of a music performance by BCA students, a dance performance from Theater seniors, a faculty video, and even a costume parade. The Haunted Mansion, a tradition started and produced by Visual students, was also a highlight of Halloween at BCA. 

The Haunted Mansion was an interactive set originally presented on the auditorium stage. Each year there would be a theme for the Haunted Mansion, and each “room” would have different features that all followed the theme. The most recent Haunted Mansion in 2019 had a museum theme, so some rooms had Egyptian mummies, and others were related to the history of BCA. Students from AVPA would guide other students through each “room,” occasionally with jump scares. The carved pumpkins would also be displayed at the very end of the Haunted Mansion for students to see on their way out. 

However, things shaped up a little differently this year. Unfortunately, the Haunted Mansion and costume parade were canceled, and the assembly was separated into two groups with two separate time slots (freshman/sophomores and juniors/seniors). Luckily, other traditions continued, like pumpkin sculpting and the AVPA/T senior dance performance, and new traditions were added. A Year in Review video was also added to the Assembly featuring school events, achievements, and memories from the last two school years. 

The Immersive Theater was an activity developed to provide students with the group participation normally provided by the Haunted Mansion. However, due to COVID restrictions, students could not attend as individuals. Instead, teachers needed to sign up for time slots to bring their classes. Nearly 400 students attended over the course of the day.

In the theater, classes watched a short horror film set at BCA. “We hope that it gave everyone something of a Halloween experience,” said Mr. Lang. 

“I was really impressed with their editing skills and the physical effects incorporated into it, like the sound effects and the water. I admire their artistry,” said a student from the Culinary and Hospitality Administration Academy.

The Visual Academy also continued their pumpkin sculpting tradition. Each year, students would meet and come up with creative ways to sculpt pumpkins. This year, they met after school on Wednesday, October 27 to sculpt their pumpkins, which were then featured in the Visual Academy labs. In addition, they also displayed Halloween decorations in the hallway outside the immersive theater. 

On stage during the Halloween Assembly, students might have noticed some slight differences compared to previous years. Unfortunately, the costume parade and faculty video were missing at this year’s assembly due to social distancing concerns and not having the normal amount of time to work on the faculty video, which tends to take a few months.

Luckily, the Theater seniors, as has been tradition, put on a choreographed dance. This was their first since COVID, following their most recent performance in 2019. “There were some benefits [to virtual assemblies], but they were all missing the live component. I think that’s the biggest thing – that reaction, that energy from the audience,” said Mr. Lang.

This year, Mr. Spinelli, Ming-Jing Qin, Nicolas Mangiarotti, Egor Maximenko, and Alexi Gardella also prepared a live music performance with piano, guitar, drums, bass, and vocals.

Although Halloween may not have been the same as it was in previous years, Mr. Lang and the Visual Academy students still successfully gave us a spectacular Halloween and restored a sense of normalcy. Mr. Lang expressed his hopes for making Halloween enjoyable for everyone. “We hope everyone enjoys the activities we put together for them and that it makes everyone feel a little bit better about being back in school.”