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The Quill

From Halloween to New Year’s Eve…


Pumpkin carving. Dressing up in costume. Gifting friends and loved ones. Counting down the seconds ‘til the start of a new year. End-of-the-year festivities (arguably the best parts of the year) come one after another, leaving adults and children alike waiting in anticipation of each one.



The list of matching costumes is endless, something that we’d rather not discuss. This isn’t intended to bring down the mood, it’s just that you can find a bunch of cute ones on Pinterest and you probably already thought of yours in June. The real deal comes down to the vast amount of festivities that Halloween brings. 

Pumpkin patches are a whole ordeal themselves, filled with corn mazes, train rides, and of course, pumpkin picking. Speaking of which, we’ve felt as though the hype for jack-o-lanterns has been drastically on the decrease. There’s nothing more satisfying than gutting a pumpkin and hearing the squelch of a pumpkin’s guts as you rid it of its seeds. Throw them in the oven, add some salt and pepper and you’re good to go on the roasted pumpkin seeds. The variety of designs that can be engraved onto these plump fruits ranges from the most eye-pleasing artwork to the most meaninglessly hilarious illustration. Not only that, carving a pumpkin tests your strength and endurance while you stab into its thick orange skin. Fun!

One of the most noteworthy bits of Halloween is obviously trick-or-treating. No, you’re not too old to participate and there’s no reason for you to stay at home passing out candy (or studying). There’s no legal age limit on getting free candy, as long as you don’t throw on a low-effort cardboard box costume that says “book” (be creative). Something about the chaotic screams of tiny children mixed with the cloudy ambiance of fall captures the slightly spooky aesthetic of trick-or-treating. 

In our opinion, things get real when it comes to the haunted houses. The jumpscares, the costumes, the horror of it all—what a wonderful way to celebrate your love for Halloween. Pair it with a pumpkin spice latte to hurl at a regurgitated mummy and you’re good to go!



Turkey Day! Gobble gobble. This holiday’s recommended drink is Peet’s Havana Cappuccino, named after the city of Havana, Cuba, where espresso beans used to make the drink are grown. Sweetly condensed with a hint of spice, the creamy cappuccino is the perfect pair to your post-feast pumpkin pie. The Quill wholeheartedly agrees, describing it in three simple words, “warm, creamy, sweet.” Although it’s not the most jolly holiday, it doesn’t deserve to be forgotten in the midst of wintertime festivities. 

Unlike Halloween, the majority of Thanksgiving activities take place on Thanksgiving day. The classic white people shenanigans include stuffing a turkey, playing Thanksgiving football, and gathering around the TV to watch the good old-fashioned parade hosted by Macy’s. Fortunately, there are some more modern traditions that you could easily incorporate into your week’s schedule.

In the midst of researching attractive activities for this holiday, it has been brought to my attention that pie swaps exist. Personally, I would’ve never thought of such an affair, but coming from a big family, this tradition is genius. Simply order everyone to make a different pie and distribute slices of each amongst the crowd. More diversity and more pie!

Continuing on with the most gobblesome Thanksgiving recreations, running. Yes, I know this is only applicable to 0.2% of the population, but imagine how much you’d get to brag to the fam if you woke up and went “turkey trotting” on Turkey Day. The end of fall is marked on this day, with the last hues of autumn paving your way as you take in the scenery. With each step comes a crunch of a leaf—leaves that will remain unheard once the specks of snow speckle the soil. Enjoy the moment because the infamously chaotic Black Friday is just hours away.

Here comes the mall’s favorite day. The in-person Black Friday shopping experience must never be forgotten, no matter how digitized our world becomes. The fanatical rush of people searching for the best deals of the year is something that one cannot miss out on. That pair of jeans you’ve been eyeing for the past six months? It’s half off. That pan you’ve been yearning for in order to hit your brother on the forehead? Buy one get one free just in case it breaks. It’s Thanksgiving week’s last hit of adrenaline before concluding in time for Christmas.



Imagine yourself lazily curled up on a comfy sofa in PJs, with your favorite book and blanket (or perhaps, you’re in front of a TV, watching your favorite winter shows). The crackling, warm flames from the fireplace and the scent of smoke and burned wood comfort you in the dimly-lit room. Faint laughter carries over from others nearby. Inhale, and you smell the pine of the colorful, merry Christmas tree and peppermint of candy canes while the scent of hot drinks (often hot chocolate, tea, or a chai latte) wafts over from the kitchen. 

You decide to get some fresh air. Outside, the sharp, crisp air stings your face with miniscule pieces of snow and ice falling from an endless blanket of white. It somehow feels smoky, and cold and quiet—as if nature is sleeping. You bend down and play up the soft, white snow with your gloved hands; or, maybe you decide to drag others outside and make snowmen and snow angels together, and sled down the hills of piled snow nearby. Occasionally, you hear frozen snapping branches, and then your clothes get wet, so you decide to go back in, where you’re warmed up, taking off your jacket and gloves to dry by the fire, and taking a hot drink and cupping it between your hands. Warm gourmand fragrances waft around as Christmas cookies bake in the oven. Your friends and family are laughing in the living room, chatting and playing games, and you smile, joining them.

Christmas is, arguably, the holiday of the year. It’s the day of laughter and gifts, of children’s dreams come true, and people gathering with their loved ones (or perhaps enjoying the day in peaceful solitude), all with a hint of nostalgia. And, of course, of Christmas carols everybody and their mother knows (“All I Want for Christmas Is You” by Mariah Carey). You ask, what about Christmas Eve, the day before it? That’s a day of relaxed, but excited anticipation for tomorrow. Santa Claus, his elves, and his reindeer are all working extra hard on this Eve to deliver gifts to people worldwide, and you may hear the faint “Ho Ho Ho!” if you listen carefully on early Christmas morning. Cozy scarves and sweaters, furry earmuffs, and a steaming cup of coffee define this winter holiday, though a tinge of dreariness may hang in the air. And lastly, if you ever were to crave that cup of coffee during this holiday, don’t forget to try Starbucks’ peppermint mocha to brighten your day with hints of rich, creamy peppermint hot cocoa, and a deep mocha flavor.


New Year’s

3….2…1..! It’s twelve. Pop! A burst of bright light blinds your eyes as you open your closed eyes and clenched fist, looking out the window at the lights contrasting with the dark sky, in anticipation of the coming year. Or a fresh start, as we may call it. It’s the time of starting-anew or reminiscing-on-the-old rituals, from reading your time capsule from a year ago, to making the New Year’s resolutions (though whether they actually get resolved is up to you). On this special day, many families and friends gather to eat foods symbolizing good things for the year ahead, like good health, longevity, and success, in addition to special New Year’s food. After all, it never hurts to be a little superstitious! Fireworks, parties, and TV watching are also a-plenty. If you need a New Year’s watch recommendation, When Harry Met Sally is the perfect rom-com for it. New Year’s is, undoubtedly, a day of hope and firsts for many.

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Alina Huang
Alina Huang, Arts Editor

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