I was so excited about coming home for Thanksgiving for a variety of reasons. I wouldn’t be at school doing work for the first part. Secondly I would get to see my extended family on Thanksgiving, and my boyfriend. But one part I slightly overlooked while telling myself this, was that I was really excited about was seeing my friends from my Quaker youth group! Unlike many other Quakers, there are a lot of youth in my meeting, the senior class alone had eleven members last year, which made up about a third of the entire group. However, we all went to different schools, and haven’t gotten all together since right before we left for university. I’ve been feeling particularly lonely recently, so seeing then was fantastic!

We always meet the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving so all of the high school graduates can come back and be with the group. For a while it looked as if most of us were college students, and the normal group was going to be a minority! It evened out after all, and we went to eat Chinese food at Chinese Kitchen, per tradition, because other restaurants are normally closed. I ate the Sesame Tofu, which is fantastic, and got all my friend love…

So then the tone shifts. We meet the night before Thanksgiving because we are all in town, to get away from family, and because no one else is in the meeting house that night to prevent us from playing Zombie. Zombie is a game the group made up years before I was a part of it, and the point of it is to scare the shit out of you. During the game, all of the lights must be turned off, and we go so far as to turn the exit signs off, or in the case of Wednesday, find boxers left over from our yard sale and throw them over the signs. We all meet in a room and draw cards, whoever gets, say the Joker, will be the killer. But the key to the game is that no one must know you are the killer, and then everyone leaves the room, and wanders around the dark empty meetinghouse.My meeting house is larger than most and features a long running hallway and an expansive basement, with plenty of rooms to hide in. One is killed when the killer comes up behind you and covers your mouth with their hand, and then you become a zombie. The zombies don’t really do anything, they just can’t talk and wander around like everyone else. If you see the killer kill, or you escape while they are coming at you, you can scream “Samm is the killer!” or “Lizzie is the killer” or whoever the killer happens to be. This is the scary part because the zombies come alive and try to prevent you from reaching the meeting room, which is base. The game is over when everyone is either a zombie or safe.

So this is what for weeks I’ve been looking forward to, a cathartic game of zombie with my peaceful Quaker youth group, a time to scare myself and friends and to be scared and to laugh. And honestly, it was the best part of my homecoming so far.

Do you have any crazy holiday traditions? Any silly customs to reunite with friends?

Love, Paige

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