First Impression of Pumpkin Culture by Hui Wang

Before coming to the U.S.A., I was frequently told that American colleges are well known for Friday night parties. Now as I have been here for almost three months, I realized the aforementioned statement, to some extent., is truly a stereotype of American college life! Recently, I participated in several Halloween parties and had fun with friends and pumpkins!

Meals prepared by church members

Halloween is said to be one of the most popular holidays of the year in America. Why do we celebrate Halloween? The answer varies! Some consider it a good chance to hang out with families and friends, put on crazy costumes that might be inappropriate in daily life, wear scary make-ups, and throw various theme parties. It’s also a perfect opportunity for little kids to play the “trick-or-treat” games once a year. Meanwhile, others regard it as a time of ghosts, evil spirit and superstition and should be avoided. That is why scary pumpkin lanterns are made and frightening costumes are worn on this special day. Either way, this is a great opportunity for everyone to arrange a time for gathering.

I would love to thank my friends affiliated with a local church for holding these parties and welcoming me to have a wonderful time with them. The first Halloween party I attended was held by a Christian family. The kind-hearted couple are in charge of the international students’ affairs for Grace Church. Many of new friends told that they spent their first nights at this couple’s house, as they had nowhere to go and no one to turn to on their first day in this country. Whenever they talked about this, a sense of gratitude would appear on their faces. It was extremely considerate of the couple to prepare a variety of food to accommodate international students’ needs. They spared no effort to make all guests feel at home. Moreover, all guests should make an earnest prayer before dinner. Thereafter, it was time for to enjoy the meal while chatting with friends from around the world.

Meals Prepared by Church Members

Guess what? The most expecting event is not the delicious meal, but the pumpkin carving competition after meal! When it was about the time, every one rushed out to the yard where pumpkins and carving tools were ready. For many international students, this was the first time to deal with such huge pumpkins! That is why the couple briefly taught us how to use the tools without hurting ourselves. I think everyone had a fantastic time, because the yard was filled with laughter from every corner for the entire night. One hour later, every one lit a candle in their hollow pumpkin masterpieces and placed it on the outdoor porch. Flashes broke the darkness of the night—everyone wanted to capture this wonderful moment with their cell phone. What a magnificent pumpkin party!

Pumpkin Family

Pumpkin Family

Several days ago, my second pumpkin party took place in Chapel Hill. It was also organized by local church members. This time, I chose to try some new technique and decided to paint a pumpkin despite my poor drawing skills. “What matters is not the product itself, but the process of creating the product.” This is how I encourage myself every time I challenge myself to try out something new. After accidentally spreading paints everywhere including the table and my shirt, I finished my first piece of art – an iridescent pumpkin.

My Iridescent Pumpkin Product
Pumpkin Carving & Painting Competition










After the fun art creating time, we had our wonderful chili meal while watching the fancy Halloween costumes exhibition. At that time, I did want to introduce this wonderful holiday to my family members and friends back in China. An old saying in China goes, “it is more joyful to share the happiness than to keep it to oneself.” Meanwhile, this cozy atmosphere made me much homesick. Afterwards, we went for indoor ice-skating. I had tried this sport when I was in China, but I had to admit that this is definitely not my game. The only reason I signed up for this activity was that I wanted to spend more memorable time with my friends. “Yes, I am now totally convinced that I am a social animal who could not live without friends!” I said to myself when I was surrounded by that harmonious atmosphere. Thank God for sending friends to me wherever I go!

Ice skating after our meal.