The COVID-19 pandemic halted many traditions on campus, two of them being Fowle-o-ween and the Mercersburg Halloween Parade (well, the parade continued, but students were confined to campus). These two traditions of the school and the town, that add to the fun of Halloween weekend, made their return this year.
Fowle-o-ween is the main Halloween party on campus, hosted and organized by the Fowle Hall prefects; it takes place in the Fowle common room. Last year due to the pandemic, it was moved to the SSC. With the return of Fowle-o-ween to its rightful place, prefect Olivia Wetzel ’24 said, “This year [because] everyone was in the Fowle common room… it definitely was more exciting than the last two years. I feel like it is a better representation of how it should be and I hope it can continue to feel like that.”
The feeling was shared by four-year seniors who are the only students to have seen the tradition pre-Covid-19. Jamie Hyung ‘23, a four-year senior and a Fowle Prefect last year, said, “It’s exciting to see the school come back to normal after Covid with traditions like this one.”
The Halloween Parade is not only a Mercersburg Academy tradition but a tradition for the whole town, enjoying its 77th year. Student activities director Trini Hoffman, who has attended the parade for at least the last 55 years, said, “It has always been a family and friends event. We would take our blankets up early and place them on the sidewalk to save a spot along the curb. We would wait for all the candy to be thrown and the big bands to play. There are so many memories. This is an event that so many of the town's people look forward to.”
The Academy has been involved for many years. This year a dozen of students, who participated in the Renaissance fair earlier in the term, were in the parade.
The parade this year was organized by Kelly Buttebaugh. Buttebaugh was delighted with the result of the parade. “I worried about the rain all week. Of course, the weather changed every hour, and in the end it rained hard at times. The smiles and the hard work that everyone puts into their floats, the music, and the food, make it worth all the worries.”
The parade represents the small town community that exists in the borough. Hoffman called it “a small town big event.”
“This was the 77th annual parade. That says something about the dedication of our community,” said Buttebaugh.
Students attended in big numbers at Fowle-o-ween on Saturday night, trick-or-treating on Sunday night (sponsored by the SAC and hosted by various faculty and staff at multiple locations on campus), and the parade on Monday night. The excitement of returning to normal after two long years affected by Covid was noticeable. Hopefully, the success of these events will mean the return of more traditions suspended due to the pandemic.