The student news site of The Harker School.

Harker Aquila

The student news site of The Harker School.

Harker Aquila

The student news site of The Harker School.

Harker Aquila

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Halloween haunts Harker with spirit contests and mysterious physics phenomena

Tiffany Zhu
Staff who entered the costume contest pose for a picture in front of Manzanita Hall. Both students and staff dressed up in creative Halloween costumes.

The upper school community engaged in Halloween festivities like a pumpkin carving contest, haunted physics lab and costume contest on Oct. 26 and Oct. 31. 

Pumpkin carving contest commences Halloween celebrations

Students and staff competed in a pumpkin carving contest for spirit points in front of Manzanita Hall during lunch on Thursday. 

To prepare for the contest, Student Activities Board (SAB) representatives from all grades visited Spina Farms to select pumpkins for their class on Oct. 20. During the contest, each class showcased their unique pumpkin carving designs. Seniors crafted colorful flowers out of pumpkins, the juniors sculpted a pirate ship, the sophomores carved a jack-o-lantern devouring a smaller pumpkin and the frosh created a devilish rendition of Elmo. 

Juniors Harriss Miller and Harrison Chen assemble pumpkin parts to create a pirate ship during the pumpkin carving contest. The junior class won second place in the contest and are currently in the lead for most spirit points. (Tiffany Zhu)

Faculty judged the pumpkins based on creativity and execution. Seniors clinched a first place victory, earning 100 spirit points, juniors secured second place with 75 points, and sophomores and frosh finished third and fourth with 50 and 25 points respectively. 

“I participated in the pumpkin carving contest because I wanted to make sure that my grade got involved in some of the spirit activities,” frosh SAB representative and pumpkin carving participant Samaara Patil said. “For the theme of our pumpkin, we wanted to carve something that everyone would know, so we carved an evil Elmo. It was chaotic but also a lot of fun.” 

Spooky physics experiments

Upper school physics teacher Scott Pflaumer organized over 65 Halloween-themed science experiments for students in the Haunted Physics Lab during lunch on Thursday. 

In one spooky experiment, students melded their faces with those of their peers by sitting on either sides of a dark screen. In another, they wrote messages with only a flashlight beam. The experiments were spread throughout the Nichols Atrium, upper school physics teacher Lisa Radice’s classroom and Pflaumer’s classroom, where the dimmed lights enhanced the eerie ambiance. 

Sophomores Ashley Mo and Minal Jalil blow out bubbles in the Haunted Physics Lab. The experiments were spread out through the Nichols Atrium and teachers’ classrooms. (Tiffany Zhu)

“There’s so [many] cool physics phenomena that in class, students don’t get to see,” Pflaumer said. “The overall idea is that a lot of these things on the surface are mysterious. Then, the students can figure out how it’s working, and that’s the interesting physics side of it. It’s a natural fit with Halloween because the science seems mysterious.” 

Halloween costume and estimation jar contest

Harker Spirit Leadership Team (HSLT) hosted a Halloween costume contest and a candy jar estimation contest in front of Manzanita Hall on Tuesday. 

The community donned a variety of costumes, from fairies with tutus and wings to bloodied Breaking Bad attire. The contest featured the categories of best overall, most creative, funniest, best duo and best group. To enter the contest, students and faculty registered with HSLT Community Secretary Sonia Yu (11).

“Hosting [the costume contest] creates spirit in our community, and it’s a fun day to come dressed up in different costumes,” Sonia said. “A lot of people did Men in Black this year, so that was really cool.” 

Students also participated in the Halloween candy guessing contest in front of Manzanita Hall. The jar held an assortment of candies like Nerds and candy corn. Winners of both the costume contest and candy jar guessing contest will receive Starbucks gift cards. 

Costume contest entrant Angelina Antony (10) dressed up as Maleficent as part of a Disney princesses and villains group costume. She recognizes the benefits of embracing the spooky season. 

“I really enjoyed spending time with my friends planning our costumes,” Angelina said. “I especially love Halloween because I get to go trick-or-treating and watch horror movies which lets me feel like a little kid again and destress for a bit.”

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About the Contributor
Tiffany Zhu
Tiffany Zhu, Reporter
Tiffany Zhu (10) is a reporter for Harker Aquila, and this is her second year on staff. This year, Tiffany hopes to meet more members of the Harker and journalism community and share topics she's passionate about with them. In her free time, she enjoys baking and watching all genres of movies.

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