Many UGRADs experienced their first Halloween this year in the United States. Several students dressed up in costumes, attended parties and participated in Halloween-related activities.

 Sam Njenga (left) and Elian Gonzalez (right) attend a Halloween party on campus.

Elian Gonzalez, a student from Panama studying at Keuka College in Upstate New York, thoroughly enjoyed the holiday.

“It was wonderful to celebrate Halloween for the first time in the USA,” Gonzalez said. “I shared it with my friends on campus; we decorated cookies, carved pumpkins, and watched Harry Potter movies. It was amazing! I also shared it with my Global UGRAD best friend, Samuel Njenga, from Kenya.”

Russell Liabunya, a UGRAD from Malawi attending Carroll College in Montana, also enjoyed Halloween festivities on campus.

“One distinct thing that I noticed was the Halloween mood that was going on in town,” Liabunya said. “It seemed to be one of the most anticipated ceremonies of the season. I got to attend one of the Halloween parties at my college over the weekend and got to dress up as Black Panther. It was an amazing experience for me, being the first time going to such an event.”

Diana Ismailova from Kazakhstan described the events that took place on her host campus, the University of Southern Indiana, over Halloween weekend:

“We had lots of fun activities here, such as costume performance, prizes, pumpkin decorations, and trick-or-treat,” Ismailova said. “The weather outside was cold, rainy and scary at nights; it felt like everything was planned because of the Halloween.”

Other students celebrated Halloween off-campus in their host communities.

Huyen Nguyen trick-or-treats on Halloween.

“Other UGRADs and I were so glad to be invited to a family in St. George yesterday,” said Huyen Nguyen, a UGRAD from Vietnam studying at Utah Tech University this semester. “We dressed up in costumes and went out with the kids trick-or-treating. We proudly introduced ourselves, and our countries to the neighbors and expressed the interest in our first Halloween. And in the end, we got a lot of candies and fun.”

Aida Syahmina from Brunei even used the holiday to complete some community service hours with other UGRADs at the University of Missouri – St. Louis.

UGRADs at the University of Missouri – St. Louis volunteer at a Trunk-or-Treat event in the city.

“My friends and I volunteered for a ‘Trunk-or-Treat’ event where we were able to hand out candies to the kids and also socialize with the community around our area,” Syahmina said. “We saw so many amazing costumes, met many new people, and overall had such a fun time together!”

In addition to Halloween, some students celebrated another holiday that falls around the same time. “Halloween and Día de Los Muertos are similar,” Wesmana Jean, a Haitian student at Emporia State University, said. “[Since] here in Emporia there is a strong Hispanic community, they got together for the celebrations. I attended a parade and took pictures with the best costumes, in my opinion. The little kids were so cute; I had to share some of my candies with them.”

Whether on campus or off, costumed or not, UGRADs across the country enjoyed observing this popular holiday in the U.S. this fall.