Halloween is a time to dress up and get scared. Cool costumes and creepy decorations flood stores, while horror movies run television stations. The Halloween spirit is everywhere, and of course, Arizona Western College can’t escape it.
AWC hosts many Halloween-related activities for students. From pumpkin-carving contests to a nighttime showing of Disney’s Hocus Pocus, there’s no shortage of fun. But students aren’t the only ones having all the fun. On the Thursday before the big day, AWC’s Campus Life department held its 9th Halloween Office Decoration Contest, when all departments can try to be the best-decorated office around.
This year’s winner, the KEYS department with help from the Students Seeking Opportunities Through Education (SOTE) program, was awarded the coveted tombstone. On the back of this small trophy, KEYS joined the list of past winners with a custom plaque. Second place was awarded to Campus Life, who received help from Student Government members, with third place going to Somerton Center and the Rotact Club.
The winners were decided by a cumulative point system that looks at creativity, interaction, arrangement, special effects and overall appearance. According to Student Activities Leader Clarissa Hernandez, the seven judges are a diverse group who represent various campus clubs.
Campus offices were given free rein to decorate, with no theme to follow other than a few guidelines concerning safety and interference with business. For example, Human Resources transformed its entire office space into a Tim Burton classic. Each door in the office was decorated to be one of the seven different holiday doors, and Jack Skellington’s entire Christmas equation was recreated.
“Kari Gardner, our Chief Human Resources Officer’s birthday is on Halloween, and she absolutely loves the movie A Nightmare Before Christmas,” said Human Resources Customer Service Clerk Joanna Pratt. “She asked us if we all thought that was a good idea, and we unanimously agreed.”
Pratt said that the decorating wasn’t very challenging, but took a bit of time to put together. And, thanks to the help from the Skills USA and American Welding Society Student Chapter, the team was able to put together something they were proud of.
A merger between the Math and Engineering departments, first-time contestants this year, put together an impressive mad-scientist laboratory at the last minute.
“We didn’t win, but we were very excited to join on the fun this year,” said Alexi Gardner. “Maybe next year we’ll be a little more prepared, and we can improve our decorating skills.”
The office was brought to life with help from students who made some of the props by hand. A table in the center of the office showcased a cut-off arm with cables connecting it to a strange power source. It was accompanied by vials of strange formulas as well as an electroshock therapy headpiece not far from a wall-mounted voltage switch.
The idea for the lab came with the thought of running with a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) theme. The department hoped it would attract students and spark interest in the different STEM programs AWC has to offer.
There’s a certain joy that accompanies Fall, with the drop in temperature and coloring of trees. Some of this joy, though, may also stem from Halloween and the start of the holiday season.
Photos by Ryan Munoz