Halloween 2022 at BCA


Brannon Zee

On October 31st, 2022, for the second time since the pandemic, Bergen County Academies celebrated Halloween with many events returning for the first time in over three years. Featuring several BCA traditions, Halloween is always an exciting time for students to look forward to each year, whether the thrill simply comes from receiving candy in classes to the school-wide Halloween assembly. For many, this Halloween was especially distinct as it was their first opportunity to experience several events that were missing during the pandemic culminating in a series of exciting and memorable days.

Before the pandemic, BCA would host a variety of school-wide events including the Halloween Assembly, Haunted Mansion, and truffle sale, which unfortunately were either altered or canceled completely due to COVID restrictions. Luckily, as social distancing requirements were lifted this year, BCA was able to host the majority of its unique Halloween events.

For instance, although the Halloween Assembly ran last year, it lacked its distinct Halloween parade where students who dressed up were allowed to walk across the auditorium stage and showcase their costumes.

This year, the Halloween Assembly returned, consisting of nearly all of the elements found in the assembly before the pandemic. While the faculty video, which was a large part of the assembly before COVID was still missing, the dance performance by the Theater seniors, musical performances by BCA students, and most notably, the Halloween parade were all a part of this year’s assembly.

A new addition to the assembly was the Pong game featured at last year’s Valentine’s Day Assembly, where the audience had to cooperate by raising or lowering their phone flashlights simultaneously to move the Pong paddle up or down. However, this year’s version of the game was themed around Halloween, with the ball being replaced with a pumpkin and new modifications being added, causing the paddle to disappear and the pumpkin to move faster. 

Many students found the Pong game to be interesting and refreshing, especially the freshmen who did not get to experience it last year.

“​​I thought that the pong game was pretty cool in the way they adapted it to Halloween,” Hemang Mittal, a freshman, commented. “Given I didn’t see it last year, I thought that the idea was a unique way of making the assembly more interesting.”

However, others found the game to be too long as it took time away from the musical performances.

“I think the pong game… is entertaining, but I feel like they spent too much time with it,” Jeannelle Tellado, a sophomore, said. “I feel like the assembly could’ve spent more time with actual performances instead of the game. I do think it was more entertaining than the Valentine’s Day one because they added the new level.”

In addition to the Halloween Assembly, the Haunted Mansion also returned in full capacity. The Haunted Mansion is an interactive experience created and hosted by the Visual Academy, featuring a distinct theme each year with rooms including jumpscares, art, and props controlled by students. At the end of the experience, visitors could view creatively carved pumpkins that would guide their way to the exit.

Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, the Visual Academy replaced the annual Haunted Mansion with an Immersive Theater event last year. Instead of the usual walk-through experience, the Immersive Theater played a longer horror-themed video featuring several places around BCA with 4D elements such as water and wind. While the carved pumpkins were still at the exit, the experience lacked the immersion only found in the Haunted Mansion’s impressive theming and intricate design.

“[The Immersive Theater and the Haunted Mansion] are very different experiences and interesting in their own way,” Beatrice Song, a sophomore in the Visual Academy who worked on both the Immersive Theater and the Haunted Mansion, commented. “For example, the Immersive Theater was a creative way to make up for not having a full Haunted Mansion in the time of the pandemic[,] the film was really fun[,] and [I really enjoyed] the jumpscare at the end.” 

However as COVID protocols eased this year, BCA was able to hold the Haunted Mansion. Students were led in groups of six and ventured into the backstage area of the auditorium which had been transformed into a series of rooms themed around a zoo. From bird cages to aquatic species, each room was a unique zoo exhibit including a different art style, animated features, and jumpscares creating a tense and dim atmosphere. At the end of the last room, visitors were able to see this year’s carved pumpkins.

Many students were pleasantly surprised by the experience, not expecting the level of detail, immersion, and horror in the tour.

“While the previous years immersive theater was impressive in itself, the haunted mansion was really on a different level!” Kay Hwang, a sophomore in the Visual Academy who worked on the Haunted Mansion, said. “The jumpscares and overall experience of the haunted mansion was very engaging and super fun.”

Beatrice added: “As for this year’s Haunted Mansion, it’s an actual haunted house that you can walk through with multiple rooms so it’s bigger and there’s more building and construction that goes into it.”

For those who were unable to visit the Haunted Mansion, there were comedic posters in the main hallway near the visual lab on display, featuring BCA teachers, staff, and administration.

Beyond these large-scale events, Halloween also brought a variety of sweets for students to enjoy. The administration and PPO were even able to organize candy distribution at the College Center and school exit for students to pick up candy throughout the day.

The annual chocolate sale for delicious chocolate truffles, a collaboration between the Culinary and Visual Academies, was also held for the first time since the pandemic. As with previous years, Culinary students prepared the truffles that were packaged into unique boxes by the Visual Academy. 

Overall, as the first full-scale Halloween for many BCA students, this year’s activities offered both a plethora of enjoyable experiences and an exciting glimpse into what BCA celebrations will look like after the pandemic. With loosening protocols, more students were able to dress up and participate in both small and large-scale events allowing everyone to enjoy both the spooky and sweet aspects of Halloween.

Kay summed it up: “The Halloween events always manage to impress, and it just builds even more anticipation for the events to come!”