By Sneha Shetty

AHS community voiced different opinions on the participation and uniqueness of Halloween costumes at Andover High over the years.

Each year, the tradition of students and faculty dressing up and showcasing their creativity has continued. While Principal Conrad said he feels that the participation has been growing, some other members of the community believe that because of the restrictions and social anxiety, fewer people feel the need to dress up each year.

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Last year, this group of juniors dressed up as months of the year. (Photo by Sneha Shetty)

Conrad sends an email every year to the parents about Halloween reiterating the rules on costumes that are worn at school. He writes that “costumes should not include props real or fake. Costumes should not depict violence and may not include blood, gore or additional fake body part.” He also adds how the costumes must stay within the dress code, and cannot be scary or include masks or weapons. However the arguably most important rule, which was stated in bold, was “costumes must not demean any race, religion, culture, ethnicity, nationality, disability, gender, or gender identity.”

Recently, Mr.Conrad stated that these regulations are mainly for the AHS community to be sensitive to other’s backgrounds and identities as well as for each person’s safety and security. Biology teacher Mrs. Valenti believes that each separate rule does have a purpose.

“I’m thinking that based on some things I’ve seen the past, the rules are pretty appropriate,” said Mrs.Valenti.

However, she also noticed that the participation among the students and faculty has decreased throughout the years. Senior Lindsey Vargas agrees. When she was a freshmen, she remembers that seniors had better and more creative costumes, partially because they dealt with fewer rules. However, she believes there is another reason too.

“I think everyone is scared that they are going to be the only one dressed up and then every year there is more and more fear,” Vargas said. She explained that “seniors are the most confident in themselves” so they dress up however they want since they don’t have much time left in high school, whereas “freshman are the most tentative” because they don’t know what to expect especially “because in middle school most people didn’t [dress up].”

Vargas is going to dress up as a Market Basket employee by wearing all her different name tags on her t-shirt.

“I feel like it is social suicide if you dress up and you are not a senior,” said junior Meghana Palaniappan.

Palaniappan recalled when she was a freshman and dressed up as a cat by wearing all black and drawing whiskers on her face. However, when she got to school she realized she was among the minority of underclassmen who were wearing a costume.

But there has been a consistent group of people that dress up each year: the science department. Their previous costumes included men in black and the colors of the rainbow.

“People talk about it over lunch, brainstorm ideas, and throw it up on a whiteboards… and vote,” said Mrs.Valenti.

The biology teacher believes that if more teachers dressed up, then students will also feel encouraged to participate on Halloween. She voiced that more contests and prizes or superlatives could also help.