The Rocket Flame

October Festivities

October Festivities

A Spook-tacular Day


Getting into the Halloween spirit, Jacob Troupe (11), Nick Alfree (11), Patrick Hicks (11), Zach Slodysko (11), Dylan Poffenberger (11), and Mason Younker (11) dress up as the band KISS.

October is a season full of carving pumpkins, dressing up, and lots of sweets. Student Council decided to celebrate this season by hosting a pumpkin-decorating contest, costume contest, and senior trick-or-treating.

Every year Student Council hosts a pumpkin-decorating contest. The contest allowed homerooms to show off their creative side by painting pumpkins. The pumpkins are judged by teachers who come down and decide which pumpkin is the best.

“I enjoyed being a judge for the contest,” said Hillwig. “It’s cool to see how creative the students can be.”

Homeroom 301 (Art) won the contest with their Oscar the Grouch-themed pumpkin. The homeroom was rewarded with a breakfast provided by Student Council. The breakfast includes bagels, doughnuts, and fruit.

The Art Homeroom Oscar the Grouch Pumpkin

“All the pumpkins were so unique,” said Claire Kriner (11). “I never would have thought to paint a pumpkin like they were.”

At the end of the day, Student Council members will dress up in Halloween costumes and deliver the pumpkins to local nursing homes, including Shook Home and Menno Haven.

“My favorite part of the pumpkin-decorating is visiting with the elderly and seeing how happy their reactions are,” said Kriner.

The next event Student Council planned was the costume contest. The costume contest lets students dress up as something of their choosing. The categories were: Most Creative, Best Couple, Best Group, Scariest, and the Most Funny. Student Council then chooses a random selection of teachers to judge the contest. The pumpkins this year were judged by Troy Hillwig (Faculty) and De-bra Blair (Faculty).

“The judging was tough,” said Hillwig. “There were some great costumes like Bonnie and Clyde and Raining Men.”

Dressing up as Bonnie and Clyde, Jackie Wagaman (12) and Aaron Stone (12) pose for a picture.

The final event to wrap the Halloween festivities up was senior Trick-or-Treating. The event enables seniors to dress up in costumes and go around to teachers who give out candy. Not only do the students dress up, but the teachers participate as well to get into the Halloween spirit.

Dressing up as Captain America Brian Stull (Faculty) participates in Senior Trick-or-Treating.

“My favorite thing is senior Trick-or-Treating because students are acting like they are younger again,” said Lynn Fleury-Adamek (Faculty).

From dressing up to getting lots of sweets, the day was filled with Halloween fun for students and faculty to enjoy.

Mercersburg Halloween Parade 2018

Stoner’s Haunted Corn Maze is All the Craze


During the Haunted Hayride at Stoner’s Dairy Farm, one of the volunteers roams and creates fear amongst visitors. “There are a good amount of scares,” says Owen Stoner (11), “We have a lot of people in the maze.”

During the Haunted Hayride at Stoner’s Dairy Farm, one of the volunteers roams and creates fear amongst visitors. “There are a good amount of scares,” says Owen Stoner (11), “We have a lot of people in the maze.”

Picture yourself with your jacket zipped up, hands in your pockets, and a hat on your head. It is dark out, and you can hear the corn rattle as the evening wind whistles by. The weather is chilly, but tolerable. You are warm, with beads of sweat forming on your brow as your body gets warmer and warmer with anticipation; the anticipation that has been building up as you hear the screams of people, just like you, who you cannot see because they are hidden behind the many rows of corn. Will you be the next person to scream?


Local business, Stoner’s Dairy Farm, hosts a fun fall activity for anybody looking to have a good time. The Stoner’s Corn Maze is a weekend pleasure, which also offers a Haunted Corn Maze. There is also several other add-ons besides the haunted maze, which is only available on particular nights, the next one being Nov. 3.


The Stoner’s Haunted Maze is a fairly new addition to the fall attractions, such as their regular and flashlight maze nights, available at the Stoner’s Dairy Farm.


“The haunted corn maze is more exclusive, and has been going on for more like five years now,” said Owen Stoner (11), who is part of the family business.


Stoner himself admits that he enjoys helping out, but he also takes out time to be a victim of the maze.


“Sometimes I dress up and help scare in the maze because that is pretty fun for me,” said Stoner. “I also like just walking through just for the thrill.”


As the years have gone by, the maze has continued to pull in frequent visitors to the haunted attraction.


“I was there last year,” said Maggie Strawoet (11), “I thought this year was a lot better than last year, and I thought there were a lot more people in it that were scarers.”


As the amount of actors has increased, the maze itself has continued to get more frightening.  

While waiting in line to enter the Haunted Corn Maze at Stoner’s Dairy Farm, Maggie Strawoet (11) and Drew Devotie (11), laugh off an unexpected scare from one of the actors.

“I was scared when you were walking through the maze awhile, and then somebody would pop out of nowhere,” said Strawoet.


There is more to the ticket than just the corn maze, though. Stoner’s also includes another frightening experience: a haunted hayride.


“Personally, my favorite part is the haunted hayride.The corn maze is pretty scary itself, but the hayride, after you go in, kind of adds to the whole entire experience,” said Stoner.


The hayride is filled with actors prepared to scare just like the corn maze.

Along with the Haunted Corn Maze at Stoner’s Dairy Farm, there is a selection of other activities. “There is the hayride, a petting zoo, a bunch of food, hot chocolate, milkshakes,” says Owen Stoner (11).

“The scarers still come out, but it is pretty freaky whenever you are on the ride,” said Stoner.


If you are not really into the scare, and you just come along to hangout with your friends, you do not have to worry, there is more to do!


“There was the haunted hayride, which was pretty fun, too, where there was people who would like walk around the hayride, like the little cart in the back, and scare you,” said Strawoet, “There was a campfire, a petting zoo, and stuff like that.”


Don’t forget, the cult classic throughout Mercersburg during Halloween time will be available on Friday, Nov. 3 , for its last debut during the fall of 2017! Tickets are seven dollars, for the haunted corn maze, haunted hayride, and all the amenities that come along with it.

Campfire History: The Soul of Halloween

From Samhuin to Halloween and Everything Inbetween


Photo by: Aaron Stone

Halloween is a holiday like none other, it’s the one day out of the year where everyone dresses up, face their fears, and go bother all the neighbors into giving enough candy to last until the next Halloween. Many wonder where this destructively- delightful day came from.


The history of Halloween began over 2000 years ago from a ritual of the Celtic people, according to a article entitled “History of Halloween.” Long ago, in what is now Ireland, the Celtic people believed that nature guided and allowed them to flourish. In turn, the Celts had many holidays devoted to thanking nature and celebrating its beauty. Although one holiday did not celebrate such things; that day was called Samhain (sah-win).


Samhain was celebrated on the evening of Oct. 31, their New Year’s Eve. The celebration focused on the ending of summer, it’s harvests, and preparing for the cold and dark winter ahead.


To the Celtics, winter was associated with death and during Samhain it was believed that the spirits, both good and bad, returned. They believed that if they did not ward off the evil spirits, their harvest would be destroyed by the ghosts.


In 43 AD the Roman Empire overtook the Celtic territories and adopted some of their beliefs, one of which was Samhain.


The Romans had a holiday like Samhain at the end of October, called Feralia. A day that honored the passing of the dead, and a day which honored Pomona, the goddess of fruit and trees. This is the believed beginning of apple bobbing since Pomona’s symbol was the apple.


During the 9th century, the Celtic and Christian beliefs began to diffuse as the Christians moved to Celtic territories. Come 1000 AD, the church created another holiday that was similar to All Saint’s Day called “All Souls’ Day” taking place on Nov. 2. All Souls’ Day practiced most of the same things as Samhain, but the costumes were of saints, angels, and devils instead of animals. All Saint’s Day also began to be called All-hallows or All-hallowmas “From Middle English Alholowmesse meaning All Saints’ Day,” according to So the name and practices of the day continued to change, traditionally Samhain to the Celts, now called All-hallows Eve, and eventually Halloween.


When the American colonies began Halloween, it was not commonly practiced in the northern states, due to the heavy Protestant system. The southern states were the first to partake in such celebrations called “Play Parties”. This consisted of different American Indian and colonial people -of all kinds beliefs and ethnicities- celebrating the harvest and telling ghost stories, foreseeing futures, singing, and dancing.

About 50 years later, thanks to the large amounts of immigration mainly from Ireland, Halloween hit America along with the idea of trick-or-treating, being called “going a-souling”. When “going a-souling,” kids dress up in ghoulish costumes (outfits with masks 

and torn clothes that made them look like ragged and wandering spirits or monsters) so they weren’t recognized by creatures of the night. Then they would go to their neighbor’s houses to ask for soul cakes (small cakes made to commemorate the dead) and other goods.


As stated, it wasn’t until the 1940s’ and 1950s’ that a new way to inexpensively practice Halloween needed to be adopted because of the baby-boom. Thus, the concept of going a-souling was revived under the new name of “Trick-or-Treating”.


Since then many films, songs and games have been made about Halloween, and the holiday is more endorsed than ever, with over $6 billion being spent on candy each year in the U.S. alone, according to This is a frightening amount, showing us just how far an idea from over 2000 years ago can go.

Stay In The Flow With StuCo

Hurricane Harvey, Homecoming & Halloween: How student council is making it happen


James Buchanan’s biggest events this  autumn all happen thanks to our Student Council organization, who have maximized their community impact despite school being in session only a little over a month.

Student Council Members gather around the supplies they collected to aid in the Hurricane Harvey relief.happen thanks to our Student Council organization, who have maximized their community impact despite school being in session only a little over a month.

Student Council members created this year’s Homecoming theme, Hollywood, and they are in full preparation mode and plan on packing tons of glitz and glam into the screen-worthy weekend.

“Expect a red carpet entrance at the dance,” said Shaelyn kaiser, 11,  who along with Victoria Hutchinson, 11,  and Kristin Embly, 11,  are the chairs of the dance this year.

The Homecoming week kicks off with different themed spirit days, the pep rally on Friday, the Homecoming parade and the game to follow.

“We’ve planned some fun games and performances for it (the pep rally)” Hutchinson said. The trio also revealed to expect some emceeing from Kaiser and fellow student Council member Bergen Stevens,11.


Other than putting all their effort into Homecoming preparations, Student Council has also been helping in the Hurricane Harvey relief.


“We put a box in the office to bring food, water, clothes and supplies in,”  StuCo president Amber Brindle, 12, said.

They’ve been collecting more than supplies but also money through a hat day they sponsored to raise money for the Red Cross relief effort.

“We ended up taking three carloads down to the drop-off station and helped organize it,” Brindle said.

On top of organizing Homecoming and assisting in the hurricane efforts, Student Council also is leaping into fall with the start of Halloween festivities.  

They plan to include the annual pumpkin-decorating contest and costume-judging around Halloween.

Student Council spends all year drawing up new ideas and plans for exciting activities and there’s no doubt this year they will continue to provide memorable events for the school.


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