Hoards of students huddle in clusters at the entry point set up in Lynn Eusan Park. Not far from the entrance are a man and woman on stilts donning flashy red and black sequin ringmaster costumes. The man is juggling glow-in-the-dark bowling pins, stopping every now and then as more people make it through the bottleneck of the line with their wristbands, to take pictures with them.
Further down, stalls of carnival games are set up in rows. Students toss plastic skulls at small buckets set up on the tables to win prizes. The air is electric with laughter and chatter. Just a few feet from the stage, students are in groups dancing along to V.I.C.’s “Wobble Baby.”
Tucked to the side stands a black tent, the main fright of the evening: The Haunted House. It’s fall in Houston, and everyone knows that means — Homecoming season.
Homecoming week has been filled to the brim with different activities and events for students to participate in. One event that many look forward to attending each year is the Homecoming Carnival and Haunted House, where students can relax, show off their costumes, and play a variety of classic carnival games.
“I’m having a good time. I take mostly online classes so this was a good chance for me to come to campus and see everything,” said accounting sophomore Aridany Vidal.
This is a sentiment that many students have had following the previous year of strict social distancing guidelines and campus closures. It seems that many this year are looking to make up for the lack of socializing last year, and this event was the perfect way for some to break the ice and make new friends.
“I decided to take my friend out with me to the carnival tonight since we were both free,” said political science junior Emily Cruz. “It’s pretty chill. Glad that we came out. We’re actually having fun.”
As this year’s Homecoming draws to a close, we can reflect on the fact that this is a symbol of comfort as much as it is a show of school spirit and bravado.
Events like these that we used to take for granted before the pandemic brought everything to a screeching halt, remind us that we should all take a break sometimes and enjoy the smaller things in life. Whether that be the Homecoming Carnival at UH, or a small gathering with friends.