Orange County School of the Arts

Orange County School of the Arts’ Halloween

You think your school has a great homecoming game tradition? Or an incredibly enthusiastic student section? Well, unless your school tradition has almost 2,000 students all dress up (in costumes that range from mechanical engineering feats to conceptual works of art), I don’t think it can really compare to Orange County School of the Arts’ Halloween. OCSA Halloween is a yearly tradition that involves a costume contest, a flash mob, and of course, candy.

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The crowd at OCSA Halloween.

OCSA Leadership (the school’s version of ASB) helps organize all these festivities. The costume contest, which was sponsored by 7-11, took months of planning, as did the outreach, advertising, and organization for this event. Axl Avendio was one of the Leadership students who helped make the event.

“In the end, it turned out to be fun and better than we expected,” he noted.

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Dr. Wallace, one of the OCSA principals.

Even though it wasn’t actually October 31, students didn’t hesitate to show their passion. Many spent hours on their homemade costumes, while others had intricately planned group costumes. It’s a common phrase around OCSA: “If you don’t dress up, you’ll be shunned.” So almost everyone dresses up, with varying degrees of dedication. Some choose pop culture references, with group costumes like Scream Queens, Juno, Mad Max, the Cheetah Girls, or Britney Spears through the ages. Disney is a popular inspiration, and many students don princess gowns, Darla’s get up (from Finding Nemo), High School Musical outfits, or even a handcrafted Wall-E (complete with a plant!). Others choose a scary route. Death and zombies attended OCSA’s Halloween parade, as did Donald Trump’s campaign team and Bill Clinton with Monica Lewinsky.

Oh yes, the teachers get in the act, too. Some go in long-planned group costumes, like the Post-Punk Snow White history teachers, the cast of Inside-Out, or the 1988 Prom crew. Others dress individually in all sorts of get ups—there was a science teacher who threw it back to a “female scientist in the 16th century,” better known as a witch.

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80s prom goers.

“I guess the main thing I could say is that I think it’s great how big OCSA Halloween is. It’s really a great way to express yourself and go as wild and crazy as you want. Even if you’re more reserved it’s a day to go a little out of your comfort zone; all is accepted. It’s definitely my favorite day of the year,” said Isabella Long, a junior in OCSA’s production and design conservatory, and a long-time participant in the Costume Contest.

OCSA’s yearly thriller Flash Mob is another great tradition. Students who take Tap or Jazz (several hundred students, as these are popular PE classes) perform the authentic choreography from Michael Jackson’s Thriller. A video of this ebullient performance can be found here.

Cheryl Walsh, OCSA Photographer, sums it up when she describes Halloween at OCSA as “a day for creativity, fantasy and play on the highest level,” and speaks for the rest of the OCSA community when she describes it as “one the favorite days of the year.”

Photo credit to Cheryl Walsh.