Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
October 28, 2021

Halloween paranoia gets to everyone, or maybe just me

By SAMANTHA RITWO | November 2, 2012

A certain maturity comes with becoming a Hopkins upperclassman as students learn how to deal with the responsibility of growing up and moving into their own off campus places. That’s what I like to think, anyway.

The first thing my mom said when she found out my apartment was on the first floor?

“You can NEVER open your windows; someone will break in!”

The unmanageable and unyielding apartment heat finally got to me though, and I caved. I decided to be brave. I opened my windows.

Much to the benefit of my wound- up personality, the looming Halloween date has triggered a slew of spooky-themed TV shows and movies on air. And there’s nothing like the holiday season to justify a marathon (or five) of “Criminal Minds.” It’s all fun and games until the victims on the show are all young brunette females.

One Halloweekend night, I was startled awake at 4 a.m. by the sound of our buzzer for entry into the building. Heart pounding, I checked to make sure I had closed my ground-level window for the night but otherwise made no movement. I waited. I heard no sleepy shuffling from my roommates and no desperate attempts to get into the building. I clung to my teddy bear, a girl’s best life support, and waited for the shadows to lurk past my window, but none ever loomed forward. Perspiration gathered on my forehead — was it the radiator? Or was I actually losing my mind?

This theory was put to the test on this past Monday night of Frankenstorm. A few friends wanted to gather on the other side of campus for a celebratory movie night, and while I value the thought of a good time, I also can’t help but cherish my health and rather dry state. I chose to stay at my apartment instead and even humored the idea of starting my homework.

That’s when the buzzer rang – not one of those quick beeps to get our attention, but one of those long, incessant rings. Someone was outside, and they wanted us to know it.

Being the first room to our building, this has happened before, where people will ring for entry to the building at odd hours of the night. Our sudden feelings of popularity often fizzle with the realization that we’re only as desirable as our apartment number is high on the list of rooms. In a storm like this, though, no one would be walking around unless he had a final destination in mind. Our apartment was the target.

I thought of the lessons crime television has offered me. Don’t follow a routine. Don’t leave the blinds open at night. I looked at our common room blinds, pulled up to offer a view of the rainy street, and I realized these moments would be my last.

The buzzer rang again. And again.

I edged closer to the intercom and made the bold move to huddle in a squat on the floor in fear. My roommate ran over, tempted to talk to the stranger outside, but instead became distracted by my anguished pleas not to move for fear that the crazy, psycho-killer outside our door would realize we were home, since the blinds being up and lights on were hint enough.

The buzzer beeped once more.

I suggested it was the wind – is that even possible? My roommate wanted to open the door. I forced her to lock it instead.

The buzzer continued to shriek and shake my nerves silly.

I begged for my roommate to stay still, but our attacker outsmarted us and asked other residents to let them in. I heard the main door unlock just as I heard my heart drop into my stomach.

There was a knock on the door.

My roommate gasped. I shushed her. He could have heard us! She bravely asked who was there ...

And my friends Nathan and Pat cheerily replied they were just stopping by to visit (a casual walk across campus in a hurricane never hurt anyone). They wanted to check how we were braving the storm.

I wish everyone a Happy Halloween! I hope you survived the storm and got some tasty treats in your trick-or-treat buckets. If you stumbled across a blacked out apartment in your shenanigans, it wasn’t a grumpy old man avoiding giving out candy – it was probably me. Hiding from the real world.

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