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Halloween from a Distance


Children, teenagers, and adults, find themselves counting down the days until the night of October 31, as houses are covered with Halloween decor from the tops of the roofs to the very edge of the driveway. Halloween can be categorized as a very public holiday and community oriented holiday as trick-or-treaters flock houses, ring doorbells, and laughing all the way down the street in their plethora of costumes. However, 2020 and the Coronavirus put a knife in the usual plans of the citizens of Paso Robles like “Micheal Myers” and his latest victim.

This year teachers, staff, administrators, and students were given the opportunity to show their school spirit by dressing-up on October 30. Instead of their regular teachers, students were greeted by witches, clowns, and Lewis Middle School teacher Kelsey Laird’s depiction of women’s rights from the mite of early suffrage movements to modern day. Likewise, students found themselves abandoning their plain t-shirts and jeans for skeleton makeup, a cat costume, or the periwinkle hat and dress of “Fleur” from the Harry Potter series.


Those that embraced the spooky season and dressed in costumes were also able to submit their photos in order to be featured in a Facebook post that the entire Paso Robles community could glimpse. Jennifer Gaviola, the Deputy Superintendent of PRJUSD, helped the event come to fruition from its beginning to end as she notified the staff and students they could dress up and was in charge of gathering/posting photos from participants.

“We were excited about Halloween this year because it has been such an abnormal year and it has been heavy on everyone with the pandemic and school closures,” Gaviola said. “So Dr. Dubost and I thought that doing an event that was light and fun would get people to focus on positivity… and what is more positive than dressing on on Halloween?”

Paso Robles High School’s leadership program was also hard at work before and during Halloween as two events took place in order to get the campus involved in the spooky season: The Pumpkin Picasso pumpkin carving contest and the Halloween Club Wars costume contest. 

“The “pumpkin picasso” contest was an opportunity for PRHS students to demonstrate their artistic abilities by either carving, painting, or decorating a pumpkin,” said junior, Faith Gaudi, PRHS’s Director of Campus Climate and Culture. “We really wanted to do a fun event before halloween that everyone would want to participate in. We had a great turn out and there were so many incredible pumpkins!”

A Tyrannosaurus Rex themed pumpkin carved by Keegan Railsback smashed its competition and was voted as the apex predator of all the pumpkins through an instagram poll that any student could participate in.

“I think it is important to keep putting on events for the student body because not only does it keep us connected, but it also makes online school more fun and exciting when you participate!” Gaudi added.

As the pumpkins were hollowed out and carving continued, bearcats also readied their costumes and began their transformation processes as the Halloween Club Wars event began. Students and staff could submit a photo of themselves in costume order to contend for the first place spot. Each student was asked to list a club that they were representing because the winner would not only win a prize for themselves, but their entire club. Those that weren’t representing a club were “always a part of crimson crew, because every bearcats is,” as leadership’s promotional instagram videos stated.

Leadership’s instagram profile, @prcrimsoncrew, hosted three rounds of single elimination, tournament style voting. Within the time limit of one hour each round, students could vote on their favorite costume among two others against them and the one with the most votes would move on to the next round.

By 2pm on Halloween, the finalists were announced. It was between Shelby LaMendola, the Healthcare Career Pathway teacher, who dressed her dog like an aviator verses sophomore, Gwenyth Lemon’s “Sally” from The Nightmare Before Christmas. In the end the former’s cute factor won the hearts of bearcat voters and LaMendola was the Halloween Club Wars Champion of 2020.

Both she [LaMendola] and her club, Lifesavers, would receive the limited edition Halloween Club Wars t-shirts that are only available for this event.

Despite distance learning and restrictions barring them from celebrating the holiday as they would have, bearcats of all ages were able to find fun and interactive activities this October 31, so that a semblance of normalcy was found… Well, as normal as a blue moon on a Covid Halloween can get.

Check out this collage featuring pictures from each event!

[envira-gallery id=”42515″]

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