Celebrating Fall Traditions

Zoe Fenner and Jessica Lin

Leaves crunch under shoes and the smell of allspice is in the air. Along with the return of changing leaves and colder weather, many fall traditions are taking place this year. Ms. Kathleen Marcos, Ms. Bomin Collins, and senior Rachel Lagdmeo all share their personal experiences with fall traditions. 

El Día de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead, is a holiday to honor deceased ancestors with origins in Latin America, but is also celebrated in the United States. Marcos, head of the Spanish department, states that the Day of the Dead “occurs [Nov. 1-2] with the Catholic Holy Days of All Saints Day and All Souls Day, but many of [its] traditions come from indigenous cultures.” On Nov. 1, the loved ones of deceased relatives arrange altars “with food and other items that their ancestors liked,” says Marcos. Marigold petals are laid out to guide the ancestral spirits to the altars. 

At Midnight, it is believed by celebrators that the spirits of departed ancestors can visit the living world to be honored by their families. Marcos says that the Day of the Dead is a joyful holiday, and that “death is not… seen as a sad or frightening part of life” by celebrators.  

Marcos explains that she introduces her Spanish students to el Día de los Muertos because “it’s important… to learn about the customs and cultures of people around the world.” Marcos instructs her students on the Day of the Dead by leading rotating stations where students watch videos about the holiday, read articles and work on crafts related to the Day of the Dead. 

Along with rotating stations, Marcos says that in previous years, she has shared Día-de-los-Muertos-themed treats with her students. However, with the pandemic, Marcos and her students will not be able to do so this year.

Photo Courtesy of TinhVan Diep.

Another fall tradition that took place on October 20 this year was the Woodson Orchestra concert’s annual fall concert. “Each concert has its own perks.. but [the orchestra Fall Masquerade Concert] is my personal favorite because students get to dress up in their favorite costumes,” Collins says. Collins adds how this concert is special because the Frost Middle School Orchestra Chamber group, the highest level orchestra at Frost Middle School, is invited to perform with the Woodson Orchestra. 

In preparation for the first orchestra performance of the year, students will decorate the stage with fall-themed decorations. Collins says, “The students, parents, and myself included often get in the spirit of decorating the stage into a fun, October-fest related theme.” Examples of decorations Collins mentions include a large blow up Frankenstein’s monster, cobwebs, autumn leaves, lights and pumpkins. Collins says that music, costumes/decorations and Halloween candy are an awesome start to orchestra fall activity. “What’s better than food and music, right?” Collins says, smiling. 

Photo Courtesy of Rachel Lagademo.

 Continuing with fall traditions, Lagdameo shares the pumpkin carving activities she does with friends and family. “It’s a nice creative outlet that’s in the moment with my friends,” Lagdameo says. She also says pumpkin carving is a relatively new activity for her. After her friends heard she had never carved a pumpkin, they began a tradition of carving pumpkins together. Lagdameo has come up with ideas for pumpkin carvings, including an Elmo meme with hell’s fire in the background and an Avengers-themed pumpkin carving that says, 

“Mr. Stark, I don’t feel…,” but with the ‘feel’ fading away into triangles. Lagdameo says that “there is just a certain thing about your hands going numb from the wet pumpkin seeds.”

Photo by Zoe Fenner


Lagademo also says she looks forward to the apple cider and apple cider donuts served at Cox Farms. Cox Farms isonce again open for business, offering hayrides, pumpkin carving, and the infamous “Fields of Fear”- A spooky staple for many Woodson students. Lagademo recalls how after running around Cox Farms in the freezing weather, apple cider/doughnuts always warm her up. “There’s just a vibe about…[the cold weather],” she says.