MSD staff and students participate in Halloween From Afar


In order to keep the Halloween spirit alive amidst the pandemic, MSD initiates Halloween From Afar for students and staff. Participants took part in costume contests, spooky bingo and a pumpkin carving contest.

Ava Steil, Editor-in-Chief

To keep the spooky season alive, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School administrators and staff participated in what they called “Halloween From Afar.” The event lasted from Oct. 26 to Oct. 30, all leading up to Halloween on Oct. 31. 

Throughout the entire week, a pumpkin carving contest took place. Anyone wanting to participate was instructed to email a picture of their creation to Curriculum Specialist Jeffery Wasserman by Thursday, Oct. 29. 

The contest was divided into five different groups: staff, freshman, sophomores, juniors and seniors. Each group had their own respective winners, each with a unique pumpkin.

Holly Van Tassel took home 1st place among the staff with her under the sea inspired pumpkin. 

“This year we were missing the [Florida] Keys so our pumpkin was an underwater theme,” Van Tassel said. “I thought it was a great event to promote the spirit, and I just enjoyed carving the pumpkin, so the winning was just a bonus.”

Senior Bonnie Bush was awarded first place out of the Class of 2021, creating a spooky jack-o-lantern design in her pumpkin.

Class of 2022 had two first-place winners. Juniors Michelle Berndt and Doran Bacan both got to take home first prize out of their classmates. Berndt designed her pumpkin with another jack-o-lantern face while Bacan went with a pirate ship.

Sophomore Madison Mccann created an intricate jack-o-lantern face that awarded her first place amongst the Class of 2023.

The freshmen class of 2024 was won by Carly Rogalla for her haunted tree creation, complete with another mini jack-o-lantern inside the pumpkin.

Next up on the agenda was the virtual staff bingo contest. Contestants completed their own bingo cards and once more emailed them to Wasserman by Thursday, Oct. 29. 

The bingo card included boxes such as owning Halloween themes jewelry, listening to a crime podcast and being a horror movie fan. Of course, in bingo card tradition there was free spooky space for players to take advantage of. 

The winners were determined by who had the most boxes checked off on their respective cards. Science teacher Adeena Teres and English teacher Chelsea Briggs both got to take home the 1st Place prize, which was a gift card. 

“It’s always fun to play bingo, I do it more to participate in the school spirit, but winning just puts the icing on the cake,” Briggs said. 

On Oct. 30, during both A and B lunches, teachers participated in a costume contest. The winners for A lunch were the Sanderson Sisters, recreated by drama teacher Melody Herzfeld, and finance teachers Diane Cutler and Lisa Webster. Solymar Quesada, dressed as a suffragette, won during B lunch.

“I wanted to have a little fun and I thought my students would love to see me being a little silly. Teaching most of my students virtually they don’t get to really get to know their teachers and see the human side. We can use some levity now more than ever,” Webster said. “ [The] Hocus Pocus movie is fun and in the theme of Halloween without having the scariness. I also wanted to team up with a couple of other teachers so we could be silly together. Having school spirit in our virtual classes is difficult but doesn’t have to be nonexistent. I believe it’s important to show that it can be done and would like to see more activities that involve our staff and students to show some Eagle Pride.” 

In addition to their outfit recreations, the trio went a step further and got face masks that matched each of the respective sisters’ faces.

“Cutler asked me if I could make the masks that she saw and I said sure but why not just buy them and [we] could dress all up according to our characters with hair and eye makeup,” Herzfeld said. “We loved dressing up before school started so we could get the kids motivated and give them some laughter in spite of the lockdown – the masks made it fun and easy!”

The entire week was complete when the MSD administration banded together to create a roller coaster costume. Each member was their own passenger on the thrill ride that has been 2020. 

“We wanted to do something to keep our students and staff full of holiday spirit and give them an opportunity to have some fun,” principal Michelle Kefford said.

All in all, the week was used as a way for MSD to encourage students and staff to participate in Halloween activities and keep the spooky spirit alive while remaining safe amidst the pandemic.