Every student, staff member and professor of the Maryville College community has recently seen the expansion of Halloween decorations accumulating in Anderson Hall. The mastermind behind all these decorations is Wendy Specter, administrative assistant of the Humanities and Languages & Literature divisions.
Specter has worked at MC for nearly 5 ½ years, and she’s always decorated for Halloween. Originally, Specter decorated a few things here and there, mainly on her desk and on the second floor of Anderson. However, the decorations have spread throughout all of Anderson Hall, including the bathrooms and the elevator.
Some might wonder why Specter decorates so extensively. It all started with her upbringing.
“Halloween was our Christmas, and we always had kids over after trick-or-treating,” Specter said.
Her parents’ house was the most decorated every year, according to Specter. Her 85-year-old mother still dresses up for the holiday.
Because Specter lives in an isolated area, she chooses to decorate Anderson Hall, she said. This way, she can share her love of Halloween with the campus community.
Each year, she tries to outdo her previous efforts. She enlists the help of the “Boo Crew,” a group of students that come in for two weekends in a row to help decorate. She also recruits members of the campus community in which she identifies the Halloween spirit. This typically includes two staff members, one faculty member and around five students, she said.
So, where does she get all the decorations?
Specter explained that most of them come from small discount stores and collecting over the years. She also often accepts paintings and pieces of artwork from students in art programs.
When asked what kind of decorations are her favorites, she said, “The scarier, the better.” Specter believes that “sweet” Halloween decorations don’t show the true excitement and meaning of Halloween.
“One year, there was one decoration that made multiple people uncomfortable. Of course, we apologized and took it down immediately. The goal of the decorations is not to make people uncomfortable,” she said.
The most rewarding aspect of decorating, according to Specter, is hearing the joy and laughter of students experiencing the decorations. She looks forward to dressing up each year and hopes students will stop by to see her costume this Halloween.