How cultures on campus celebrate fall


Spencer Batute

Halloween decorations in the Center for Academic Support.

Spencer Batute, @batutie_

Trick-or-treating, jack-o-lanterns, spooky decorations and all things macabre. These traditions are unquestionable customs of Halloween, a hallmark American holiday. However, Halloween is by no means the only cultural approach to this fall holiday.

A number of various cultures and communities around the world celebrate the end of fall in their own unique ways.

To Florence Kline, LMC language professor, multiculturalism takes precedence. Kline, who has taught French, Spanish and Italian at LMC, makes an effort to educate her students on how different communities celebrate this holiday.

In her French class this semester, Kline is teaching her students about the French holiday of La Toussaint, a day in which the dead are honored by the lighting of candles and the decoration of flowers on graves. She is also incorporating information on Día de los Muertos,  which is a holiday celebrated in Mexico and some parts of Latin American in conjunction with general Halloween history.

Kline will also celebrate Oct. 31 by having her students contribute items to a potluck which represent their culture. In the past, Kline has had students from backgrounds like Australia, Cameroon and Yemen.

Kline believes a multicultural approach to education is important to students “so they don’t have a narrow view of life and how things should be” once they’ve graduated from college. Language, she believes, is a link between culture and people.

Día de los Muertos is one of the most commonly celebrated fall holidays outside of Halloween, in the LMC community. This Latin American holiday, which takes place Nov. 1, is based on honoring the dead.

Although Richard Preza, co-president of United by Dreams, doesn’t celebrate Dia de los Muertos, most of his family members do.

United by Dreams, La Raza Unida Club and Latinx Leadership Network will be putting on a Dia de los Muertos event Nov. 4 from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in the outdoor quad. The event will include dancing, fundraising and taking photos at altars, and will give the historical background on the tradition.

LMC student William Ta doesn’t usually celebrate Halloween. Though he went trick-or-treating as a little boy, he  said he “grew out of it.”

This Halloween, William plans to stay home and hand out candy.

One area of concern is that celebrations and decorations are too focused on the American form of the holiday, and not enough on the celebrations of other cultures.

Some students, however, are not bothered by the American-centric celebration of Halloween. “It doesn’t bother me, but then again, I’m not really religious,” said student Gaby Pereira. Pereira said she could see how some people might be offended by the spooky imagery and macabre themes of Halloween decorations, but that Halloween is not ultimately about such dark messages.

Pereira usually goes trick-or-treating with her child or attends Halloween parties, when possible.