Dangers and myths of Halloween

By Justin Wang and Devonna Dang

Stories and warnings of fear for such tampering surged in the late 20th century. However, the general consensus now is that such warnings are generally unfounded upon further reflection and study.

One such misidentification occured right here in San Jose. It was Halloween of 1996 when seven-year-old Ferdinan Siquig collapsed while trick-or-treating. Initial blood and urine sample tests led police to suspected that the culprit was cocaine laced within his Halloween candy.

However, later analysis did not find signs of the cocaine. Despite this, the story was already reported on before the later analysis was conducted. It’s easy to see how stories like these may propagate.

It is important to note, however, that while no death has been attributed to random acts of candy terror; there were two reported cases of death due to the fault of family members.

One was an accident in which a child mistook heroin for candy, and the other was a murder plotted by the child’s uncle for insurance money.

While both are tragic cases, no death has been attributed to candy from strangers and many reported cases of tampering end up being pranks by the child themselves.

Although Halloween candy poisonings exist in the realm of urban myth, tampered trick-or-treat candy have been documented. These cases constitute a different level of tampering than poisoning: it’s an attempt to kill whereas a pin in your candy is an attempt to scare or injure. About eighty cases of sharp objects in food incidents have been reported since 1959, and almost all were hoaxes. Only about ten culminated in even minor injury, and in the worst case, a woman required a few stitches.

Comparatively, a larger danger of Halloween is a kidnapping or abduction. “Freshmen year Halloween, my friends and I went trick-or-treating in this trailer park neighborhood… while we were walking in the more vacant part of the neighborhood my friends told me there was this guy wearing a clown mask and was stalking us,” says junior Kailyn Nguyen.

Car accidents are largely overlooked on Halloween. Because Halloween takes place at night, darkness impairs vision. It should be noted that if you decide to trick-or-treat, make sure that you can be seen at night. If the situation is that you are behind the steering wheel, keep in mind the hyperactive children possibly running around in the nighttime.

A gleaming light in the night time, lanterns, a component to the festivities of Halloween but also a fire hazard. The potential harm of fire could be alleviated by wearing costumes that are made up of one material. The more flimsy and thin your material constitutes, the more likely it is to catch on fire. Different materials react differently to one another, and depending on the materials, the costume could burn faster. ◆



Origins of Halloween

By Mansi Patel

“Ding dong!” goes the bell over and over during the famous celebration of Halloween. Kids dressed up in costumes asking for candy is actually a relatively new idea, considering that the original Halloween tradition started about 2,000 years ago. Many people celebrate Halloween without truly understanding where it really originated from and why.

Halloween originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, whose people would wear costumes to ward off ghosts. The Celts lived 2,000 years ago in what is now known as Ireland, the United Kingdom and Northern France. They celebrated their New Year on Nov. 1, and celebrated the now known tradition of Halloween on Oct. 31.

The day of Halloween was given its name, All Hallows Eve, by the Celts. The Celts believed the unearthly spirits would damage crops, therefore, they would dress up in costumes to ward those unwanted spirits away. They also believed that the presence of the spirits allowed the Druids, also known as the Celtic priests, to look into the future during this special night. These predictions were very important to the Celtics because of their strong belief of prophecies and what will be coming in the future.

In the second half of the 19th century, many immigrants who were affected by the Irish Potato Famine fled to the United States, and brought with them the celebration of Halloween. There are many superstitions that come with Halloween, such as black cats, witches, ghouls, pumpkins and more. In the late 1800s, Halloween became more about getting together with the community instead of ghosts, pranks and witchcraft.

At the turn of the century, Halloween became more about games, foods that represented Halloween, festive costumes and having a day dedicated to fun and candy. Right now, high school students go out on Halloween night to visit haunted mansions, spend time with friends goofing around and to get some candy to last the rest of the year.

Though many children trick-or-treat on Halloween starting from elementary school or earlier, we must not forget the origins of this tradition that started as a day to rid one’s life and community of trouble and fear. ◆


Commercialism of Halloween

By Henry Zheng

Halloween was once reserved for the nobility and the rich. Now, it is accessible to everyone, all thanks to commercialism.

What was once candy and treats for the rare wealthy is now a common handout during the holidays, along with spooky costumes and extravagant decorations.

Although the average Halloween advocate has benefitted from commercialism, the few who truly benefit from these holidays are the large companies and corporations who have found the Halloween market to be highly profitable.

With money on companies’ minds as the Halloween season gets closer, these large corporations take advantage of such a holiday, knowing consumers are willing to spend unreasonable amounts of money in the name of festivity.

And they’re right. Unbothered by costs, many of us often spend unreasonable amounts of money during the spooky holidays without thinking twice.

An article on wearetop10.com stated that on average, Americans nationwide spend over $9 billion just on Halloween, and with our over-the-top spirited population, it doesn’t look like this number is going down anytime soon.

Year after year, the American public endorses this spirit of celebrating the dead and collecting candy from strangers, establishing this holiday to be a true American tradition.

And who’s to say this spending is bad? Despite the hefty costs of candy and costumes, the true heart of Halloween, the spirit and fun of going out and trick-or-treating or giving out candy, negates many negative aspects of spending, and if anything, spending also provides some incentives to go out and have fun.

“I think it’s a good way to bond with your family and friends in a fun and festive way (as) giving out candy brings up the spirit of other trick-or-treaters,” says senior Jason Damasco.

Yet, at the same time, it is important to not be overrun by commercialism in times of mere spirited fun. People who have no costumes while trick-or-treating are often scrutinized by parents and given less candy. Similarly, neighbors compare each other’s houses and shame those that aren’t decorated.

Along with this, many naughty kids, dressed up in their costumes, often become enraged when houses don’t respond to trick-or-treaters or if members in the house are already sleeping.

So the next time you trick-or-treat, it is indeed important to have fun, but also keep in mind that Halloween is something for everyone to enjoy. ◆

Costume ideas

By Rose Lu

It’s already less than a week before Halloween and you still have no idea what  costume to wear. Don’t fret! The Legend  has your back. Here are some simple, last-minute Halloween costume ideas that can come in handy for you.

A Ghost

All you need is a bedsheet and some scissors. Don’t try this at school though, because full-body costumes are not allowed.

Rosie the Reveter

Male or female, all could be a reveter! All you need are denim jeans, a denim jacket, and a bandana. You also need some rough and tough arms.

Identity Theft

For this simple costume, all you need are post-it notes with some names written on them. Stick them all over your body and now you have many identities.

Chip on the Shoulder

Stick a small bags of chips on your shoulder, then you are done.

Self Portrait

All you need is a picture frame to carry around school!

Dominos (Preferably with friends)

All you need are some solid colored t-shirts, tape and construction paper! Pick a number applicable to the domino numbers and just tape it onto your shirt!

Self Absorbed

Are you self-absorbed? Then you should get some sponges to tape all over your body.

Error Code

Think normal costumes are lame? That’s fine! Just wear an error code costume, all you need is a message saying “costume not found.”


All you need is a marker to write “book” on your face.


Pick a fruit you like and find a solid colored shirt pertaining to your fruit. Then, make some seeds out of paper and voila! This would also be a cute idea with a group of friends, with one being a tree.


Remember what the teachers did two years ago? Dress up as an emoji, you can either tape it on your shirt, hang it around your neck or dress up as it.

If you don’t like these ideas, here are some guidelines to help you find your perfect costume. First, pick a theme and then pick something specific from the theme. Then get creative and go make it and wear it! Make sure you get creative, but most importantly be safe! Happy Halloween! ◆


Traditions of the dead

By Janelle Perez

Costumes, candies and spooks is not what Day of the Dead is about. Day of the Dead, or Dia de Los Muertos, is oftentimes confused with Halloween. Although Day of the Dead starts on Halloween, the former holiday is about celebrating life.

Day of the Dead originates from Mexico. The Aztecs used this day to honor their queen of the underworld through a big festival in their community. Current day celebrations primarily take place in Mexico and are celebrated from Oct. 31 to Nov. 2 all over the world.

People who celebrate the holiday are typically those who wish to honor their loved ones who have passed. Day of the Dead is about honoring the life that the dead once lived, not to mourn the loss of their loved ones. However, the holiday is not for everyone. It varies from what a person’s beliefs are to what a person may feel is honorable and respectful.

A traditional Day of the Dead celebration includes an altar with pictures and ofrendas (offerings), marigolds to guide the spirits home and a sugar skulls used to decorate the altar. An altar can either be small or big. Smaller altars are oftentimes seen in places where the holiday is not as big, like in the United States.

In Mexico, people gather together a couple of days before the celebration and head over to the graves of their loved ones. They spend their time sweeping their areas and decorating with bright papel picado and ceramic skulls decorated with intricate designs.

A simple altar can include pictures of the loved ones being celebrated and the infamous pan de muerto, which quite literally translates to bread of the dead. Pan de muerto represents the bones of the dead in a delicious way. The preparation of the decorations and food all leads up to the final celebration day.

The big celebration day is held on Nov. 2. At this point, altars and decorations have been up for two days and every celebrator has been anticipating the final day. In Mexico it is accustomed to throw a big party at the graveyard with music and food. It is said that the spirits travel to Earth on this day and celebrate with their families, which is why marigolds are used as a way to guide them down to the graveyards. During the celebration, people tell stories and remember happy times spent with those who are no longer with them.

On Day of the Dead, life is celebrated through bright traditions that have been passed down from generation to generation. ◆


The last home game of the season

By Francisca Pascua

Bam! Volleyball player Liana Annable smashed the ball to the ground, creating a loud thump. The other team retaliated. The varsity volleyball team had an intense match against Westmont this Monday but fell short on Senior Night at home with a score of 3-0.

With a current record of 3-10 in the league, PHHS Girls’ Volleyball struggled to win most of their games throughout the season.

In the third game, prior to the last home game, players went head to head with Branham, in which they suffered a 3-0 loss. The first set resulted in a score of 25-19, the second half the teams reached a score of 25-8 and the third set was 27-25. Despite the tragic loss, everyone remained optimistic and motivated.

“Our last game against Branham was probably the best game we played all season. Even though we lost, our team really came together and fought for every single point,” cheered senior Kaitlyn Seawright.

During the course of the season, the team lost one valuable setter from an ankle injury that may have altered the atmosphere of the games.

“I was a setter so it may have been difficult to adjust but we had two other setters that were able to play. So, maybe at the beginning it seemed different but overall I don’t think our team was affected,” claimed senior Emily Pereira.

The varsity team pondered about how to approach future games with a more positive demeanor.

“We could improve on staying positive even when the other team is doing well. We are just going to focus on having fun and working together as a team,” admitted Pereira as she reflected on what she has observed on performances.

Regardless of the multiple defeats, the players did not let this stop them from spiking back. They continued to prepare and work hard while keeping their minds concentrated on winning.

In their previous encounter with Prospect High school, PHHS Volleyball celebrated with a victorious triumph by leading 3 -2 .

“We prepared with another tournament over the weekend and just had pep talks. Our practices are usually [kind of] intense, but fun at the same time. Our team is really close and we pretty much make anything fun when we are together,” explained Seawright.

PHHS Varsity Volleyball Team are just one game away from ending their BVAL (Blossom Valley Athletics League) Season. With positive attitude, the volleyball team strives to win their final game at Evergreen Valley this Wednesday at 6 p.m. ◆


Girls’ Tennis smashes out of season

By Sarah Shafaeen

After a particularly challenging season, the PHHS Girls’ Tennis team has discovered that they did not qualify to compete in the CCS (Central Coast Section) due to placing fifth.

“California’s athletic activities are broken down into about 10 different sections, one of them being the Central Coast Section, or CCS. Every year, sports teams within the section train with the sole purpose of competing for a spot in the CCS playoffs. It’s very difficult to make it to the playoffs and essentially only the best of the best can participate,” informed senior Anna Tran.

The tennis team was having a challenging season with five wins and ten losses. Part of the challenge was the influx of new players and many of the star players graduating the previous year.

“It’s definitely been challenging. We had a lot of our seniors last year graduate and they were a major part of our varsity lineup,” said Captain Tiffany Nguyen.

Everyone from the captain to the newcomer were aware of the mental and physical effects of this tough season and were concerned about the capability of this years’ team to compete at its full capability and potential.

This is why it was an extremely difficult journey to compete for a spot in the CCS playoffs. The CCS is the governing body of public and private high school athletics in the portion of California encompassing everything from the San Mateo County to the Monterey County. Despite the tough circumstances, the team remained hopeful and continued to train for the playoffs.

“In years past, Piedmont Hills has been able to play in the CCS tournament, and although we have been having a difficult season so far, we hope to do so again this year,” stated Tran.

“I’m pretty proud of how much improvement we’ve managed to come by so far and how we’ve done against certain schools,” admitted Nguyen.

Many of the newcomers were confident in the team’s ability and reflect back on the season with fondness. They were determined to get into CCS despite their losses throughout the season.

“I like all the support every day during the practices and the games. It makes me feel good because we’re one big family,” asserted freshman Crystal Cheng.

The determining game last Thursday showed the team that their efforts paid off and motivated the new players to train harder for next year’s season. ◆

Its football y’all

By Alana Valdez

Pirates are working their way back up to the top one scurvy dog at a time. Our most recent crusade was against the Mustangs and our Pirates fought well.

Piedmont Hills Pirates played Pioneer High School and their Mustangs on our home turf last Friday. JV and V both played great games. Jv won 28-19 and V won 49-41. With this win the Pirates JV is 5-3 and V is 4-4. Piedmont now have one last game left in the season before CCS playoffs.

“I think we are doing really good right now. It took us a second to get in the shape of things since we had a thin team, but all in all we are doing pretty good.” Varsity football player Xavier Martinez comments after the game.

It has been a long voyage for our Pirates. The beginning of the season was off to a rocky start. They started out with a shortage of players. Then most students did not want to sign up for football because they did not have the time, did not have high enough grades or just did not want to play anymore. With the players we do have the coaches can see the lack of interest and commitment.

“Commit to practicing better, there is a lot of goofing around and not taking football serious they are just going out there and going through the motions and not really following direction. If they decided to take it more serious they could be great.” Football coach Jessie mentions.

The team continues to struggle, “They are struggling to get in sink and it shows of the football field.” says Coach Jessie. But thanks to the help of our coaches the players are making progress. “They always encourage us to push our limits and to never quit during game time, they inspire us in and out of practice.” Varsity Player Ryan Devlin states. This is what makes them a great team.

“I feel like if we could keep the same intensity all game long we will make it to CCS and not letting teams get in our heads.” Xavier says and hopefully tonight’s game at Leland High will help us qualify for CCS. ◆

The biography of a biology teacher

By Katie Tran

“I am exceptionally boring,” remarks biology teacher Jason Dries when asked about his hobbies besides photography.

Aside from teaching here at Piedmont Hills, Mr. Dries spends much of his time taking photos, whether it be of his friends and family or of his clients. His interest in photography began about ten years ago, when his son was born. Back then, the phones weren’t great and he wanted better than his hand-held cell phone.

“I bought a kit off Amazon, or eBay and kinda started liking photography and then that camera became a better one and then a better one and then a better one,” explains Mr. Dries.

Mr. Dries owns a small business called Legacy Photographs, which was originally a website where he would blog and post photos, until April 2011. He read an article in the Mercury News one morning about a mother of three who was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer and decided that he would offer to take photos of her and her family so her kids would have a memory of their mother forever.

“I contacted her the morning I read about it in the newspaper and said ‘can I take thousands of pictures of you with your kids before you die?’ so we met up a bunch of times and actually took a vacation with them early on,” reminisces Mr. Dries. He then expanded his plan to make Legacy Photographs a small business by doing pay jobs to cover the costs of photos for them.

“To establish a legacy is to preserve things and I have taken tens of thousands of pictures of my son so his legacy will be very visible in the years to come,” responds Mr. Dries, explaining why he named his business ‘Legacy Photographs.’

Before deciding on becoming a teacher, Mr. Dries thought about pharmacy school and was accepted to the University of Pacific but turned it down because his parents couldn’t afford it.

“Not an option. I’m color blind and I can’t see rashes, jaundice, hives. I can’t see those things. It would be bad,” revealed Mr. Dries on why he didn’t reapply when offered admission again.

Mr. Dries has been teaching AP Biology for 15 years and the year after decided that Piedmont needed Forensic Science so he began teaching that as well.

“Our principal at the time, we were in one of our meetings, asked ‘who wants to teach AP?’ and I was the only one who raised my hand,” revealed Mr. Dries.

When asked who his inspirations were, he replied that every photo he sees that are better than his serves as inspiration to him but he doesn’t have any specific inspirations. ◆

Your local barista helps you pick the perfect drink


To the average confused customer,


What says fall more than ordering a cup of coffee and viciously typing into your computer under the free Wi-Fi of Starbucks?  Every day, students are scattered throughout the store, working on projects ranging from college applications to essays due the next day, spending hours focused on their computer screen. But we all need some type of break, so what do we order? There’s all kinds of choices for you to pick from, ranging from a regular cup of Pike’s Place brew to Pokemon Go Frappuccinos. That’s why I, your local barista, am here to help you find a drink that’s right for you this fall season.


Pumpkin Spice Latte

Pumpkin Spice Lattes (PSL) are a very well-known fall drink at Starbucks. It’s a coffee drink with traditional fall flavors like pumpkin and cinnamon with espresso shots, steamed milk, whipped cream and pumpkin spices to top it off. It also can come iced and even blended into a frappuccino if you prefer it. It’s a classic Starbucks drink, and is commonly labeled as a favorite by many customers. It’s only seasonal, so you only have a few months to stop by and order it.

Although it’s said to be this favorite drink among many, in my opinion, Pumpkin Spice Lattes are way too overhyped. The pumpkin sauce inside makes it way too sweet, and the whipped cream on top just adds onto that. I feel like ordering an iced drink takes away from its flavor, as well as that soothing satisfaction that the drink provides when it’s warm. If I were to order the PSL, I’d order it warm with no whipped cream and less pumpkin sauce; that way it still has that coffee flavor and a temperature that makes you feel all warm inside.

Rate: 7.5/10


Salted Caramel Mocha

Another fall seasoned drink is the Salted Caramel Mocha (SCM), which also comes either hot, iced, or in the form of a blended frappuccino. The drink is essentially a mocha with toffee nut flavoring, espresso shots, milk, and topped with whipped cream, caramel, and the salt topping. This is another seasonal drink that people have to wait for fall to order it, but those who know the ingredients can get it before it comes by just ordering a mocha frappuccino with toffee nut.

Yet again, the drink, at least in my opinion, is way too overhyped. When I first tasted it, I expected it have a nutty flavor mixed with the perfect balance of chocolate and a topping mixed with the caramel that was a perfect combination of salty and sweet. What I actually tasted was just a mocha with extra toppings on top and no real nutty flavor. Now I’m not saying it’s terrible because it’s not as sweet as the PSL, but the drink is still not something I would get on a regular basis. If I were to tweak it, I’d probably ask for more of the toffee nut syrup because I didn’t get any nutty flavor. But I do have to say, the caramel and salt toppings did really compliment each other perfectly so kudos to Starbucks for that part of the drink.

Rate: 6/10


These are the only popular seasonal drinks, so next I’ll introduce some of the newer drinks that entered the menu in stores nationwide.


Triple Mocha Frappuccino

The Triple Mocha Frappuccino (TMF) isn’t super new, but it just entered stores this summer. The drink is a blended drink with a chocolate flavor, topped with the new Cold Brew Whipped Cream (CBWC). It’s supposed to be sweeter than the regular Mocha Frappuccino.

In my opinion, the way the drink is presented is pretty cool. Baristas add whipped cream to the bottom of the cup with mocha sauce so that when mixed with the drink it almost looks like a cool swirl. In my opinion, the CBWC really adds a new flavor to the drink; that’s what makes the drink sweeter than the original. The ingredients that go inside are essentially the same as a regular Mocha Frappuccino, but the CBWC is definitely worth the extra 50 cents in the end.

Rate: 8.5/10


Ultra Caramel Frappuccino

I know we have many Starbucks lovers out there who get their Caramel Frappuccinos with so much extra caramel that you might as well just order an entire cup of it. Instead of forcing you to keep ordering extra extra extra caramel, Starbucks has offered the new Ultra Caramel Frappuccino (UCF). A blended drink made with our new dark caramel in replacement of the original caramel and topped with our Cold Brew Whipped Cream and Caramel Drizzle, the drink provides an even sweeter twist to the original Caramel Frappuccino (CRF).

As far as sweetness goes, in my opinion, I prefer a stronger coffee taste over sweetness, so I usually add a couple shots to any frappuccino I order. The presentation of the drink itself is similar to that of the TMF, with CBWC mixed at the bottom to give it that cool swirl effect. In the end, it all depends on how sweet you really want your drink to be.

Rate: 8/10


Mango Dragon Fruit Refresher

And last but certainly not the least, I present to you the newest addition to the refreshers, the Mango Dragon Fruit Refresher. When it first came out, stores were constantly running out of the new refresher, which replaced the previous Cool Lime Refresher. The new refresher is a combination of tropical flavors, including a mango taste with some dragon fruit flavors. The drink is topped with dragon fruit bits to give it a vibrant pink color and can be shaken with either water, lemonade, or coconut milk.

In my opinion, just ordering the Mango Dragon Fruit Refresher (MDR) tastes like some watered down Vitamin Water. If you shake it with lemonade, it brings out more of the mango flavoring and adds a really good flavor to the already popular drink. I’ve seen customers order it with coconut milk, which gives it a VERY vibrant pink color, as well as makes it a little sweeter than the original drink. The MDRL is actually one of my favorite drinks on the menu, so I would definitely recommend it.

Rate: 9.5/10


I hope this helped guide you to your preferred drink out of the newer drinks that Starbucks has to offer. In all honesty, every drink on the menu has its own uniqueness that fits to every customer’s needs. As long as you know what you’re craving, choosing the perfect drink shouldn’t be too hard.



Your Local Barista ◆