International students share perspectives on Halloween

Every country in the world has its fair share of unique traditions and holidays, and the United States in no exception. Every fall, people of all ages celebrate Halloween. A time to dress up in costumes, eat candy, carve pumpkins and watch scary movies, the traditions and idiosyncrasies of Halloween can be an odd thing to wrap your head around if you didn’t grow up taking part in them.

Lawrence’s international students have a particularly unique perspective on the holiday in general, as well as how the Lawrence community celebrates it.

While the holiday may initially seem very odd to some students, it is still often relatable to celebrations from their home countries.

“Halloween is totally new for me. As far I have known about it, it seems fun,” Nijesh Upreti, a freshman from Nepal said. “For what I can relate to, it is more like a festival called Lakhe Nach in Nepal where people dress up like demons and put on huge masks and dance in some peculiar fashion.”

But the pervasiveness of Halloween in movies and television shows make it seem less foreign, and allows people from all over the globe to have an understanding of the holiday and its traditions before they actually experience it first-hand. Sophomore Abedin Rafique, who hails from Bangladesh, said that before he celebrated the holiday, he knew about it from movies and social media and so on, but experiencing it was different.

“I think it is a great way for community members to come together. Last year in Plantz, they did a haunted house that was phenomenal. The guys put in like a week of work just to create it and it was fun for the visitors and the people who organized it,” Rafique said.

“I still don’t understand the idea of pumpkins, but I can’t complain about the desserts,” he added.

But while the traditions might have seemed odd, Rafique stressed that it wasn’t a difficult holiday for him to participate in for the first time.

“I think that for international students it’s a very easy American tradition to get involved with, and it brings a lot of people together.”

So whether you’re entering into your second decade of participating in Halloween festivities, or it’s your first time entirely, it’s always a good idea to get out and see what Lawrence and the wider Appleton community has to offer on October 31 this year, even if it seems a little bit strange.