Halloween Express Scholarship Contest
We offer three scholarship essay contests per year: Winter/Spring, Summer/Fall and a Holiday essay contest. Each contest winner is posted on our website here and promoted on our social media pages. Previous contest winners and their essays appear at the bottom of this page. Our scholarship contest is open to all fields of study for students who are at least 18 years of age or older and have been accepted to an accredited post secondary undergraduate program or college located in the United States for the specified school year. The program can be a two or four year vocational, college or university. Financial need is not a consideration for this scholarship. The best overall submission will be determined and judged by the Halloween Express team. Our scholarship essay contest encourages recent high school grads or college students to examine America's history along with their own experiences by submitting a 500 to 2500 word essay expressing their views on the contest topic. The best overall submission will be awarded a $1,000 scholarship. For details, rules and terms and conditions, read on. This is not a loan. This is a FREE scholarship. There is NO FEE and no purchase requirement.
* * * Congratulations to Kali R! She's the winner of our HOLIDAY 2016 Essay Contest. You can read her essay below. * * *
WINTER/SPRING 2017 SCHOLARSHIP CONTEST INFORMATION
Dates: March 31, 2017
Theme: To be announced
Our scholarship contest is open to all fields of study for students who are at least 18 years of age by the entry deadline and have been accepted to an accredited post secondary undergraduate program or college located in the United States for the stated school years. The program can be a two or four year vocational, college or university. Financial need is not a consideration for this scholarship.
How to Enter
Submit your essay along with the information requested using this ONLINE FORM. You will be asked to provide some personal information. All information provided will be used only to compete in this contest. We will never sell or give away your information to anyone, ever. Essay must be submited by the entry deadline specified in the scholarship contest period. All entries must use the online form. Entries cannot be accepted any other way. Only one essay per person (based on email) will be accepted.
The winner will receive the scholarship funds directly via Paypal. If you don't have a Paypal account, it only takes a few minutes to set one up and it's free.
Essays must be typed in English, have no less than 500 words and cannot exceed 2,500 words. All essays will be judged by the Halloween Express panel. Essay will be judged based on the knowledge of the theme, development of the theme and clarity of the ideas presented. Write your essay in an easy-to-understand format. Leave the reader with a clear understanding of your explanation and thought process of the theme. The essay must be the contestant's original work and a product of the contestant's own thinking. The approach to the essay theme should be positive and clearly focused. Poetry is not acceptable. Quotations may be used sparingly if plainly identified wherever used.
Not a student? Even if you don't qualify to enter our essay contest, you can still save money on your Halloween costume. Halloween Express has more costumes in more styles and sizes than anyone. So whether you're a student on a budget looking for a cheap costume or a mom in search of this year's cutest costumes for kids, we hope you'll consider Halloween Express.
Halloween Express HOLIDAY 2016 Scholarship Winner - Kali R / Evanston, IL
Jan 3, 2017: Congratulations to Kali from Evanston, IL! She's the winner of our HOLIDAY 2016 Scholarship Contest. Kali submitted her essay on the topic of 'What Christmas Means to Me'. Kali is attending Northwestern University.
Here is Kali's essay:
Let the record show that not once has my family ever been described as “festive.” Sure, every year we go through the motions of Christmas: We get a tree (usually plastic), stick a few Santas, reindeer, or snowmen around the house, watch some holiday movies, and call it Christmas. Apart from some last-minute gift shopping and obligatory decorating, day-to-day life doesn’t change for my family around the holidays. It’s not particularly magical, nor is it steeped in tradition or holiday cheer, and yet it’s my favorite time of year. Why? Because I’m guaranteed to be with my family, and that’s more than enough.
At my university, where I battle the dreaded beast known as Sophomore Year, I rallied at the very idea of Christmas. When the most grueling of exams and extracurricular duties tried to overpower me, the shrillest carol on the radio or the most obnoxious holiday TV commercial raised my spirits from the depths of collegiate despair, reminding me that I’d be home for Christmas and in the arms of the ones I love most. Now that I’m in college, Christmas is one of the few times I see my family. Christmas is a promise of togetherness, and it is a promise we keep year after year.
When I was little, I thought Christmas was about the presents, but now I don’t care if I receive one gift or one million. I don’t care if I’m given nothing at all, because after being at school most of the year, even during the summer, I think the real gift is going home. My family’s Christmases are not catalogue-worthy, and yet they are perfect beyond compare. Each year holds something new. Perhaps we’ll see a movie, or eat at one of the few restaurants that isn’t closed. Or maybe we’ll watch A Christmas Story and cook a feast with enough leftovers to keep us satisfied all week. We don’t bake cookies for Santa anymore, but we still bake them just for us to share. Whatever we do, we do it together.
We do have one tradition. It’s small, but unwavering. A lot of kids got to open one present on Christmas Eve, and I was no exception. Now I’m 19 years old, and this year I’ll still unwrap a small present by the glow of the Christmas tree’s multi-colored lights the night before Christmas. These days, the element of surprise is all but gone as far as gifts go, and my wish list could fit on a Post-It note. But opening that one present is a tradition that has remained unchanged after more than a dozen Christmases, and it’s comforting to look forward to something constant in my life.
So my family Christmases aren’t going to win any awards for tradition or festivity. Some holidays have been happier than others. I have weathered Christmases after a loved one has passed, and sometimes giving gifts strained our finances. But in spite of everything, Christmas is the only holiday that holds any sentimental meaning for me. It’s a day when our only obligations are to each other, and as long as I’m with the ones I love, it is sure to be the most wonderful time of the year.
Halloween Express FALL 2016 Scholarship Winner - Rachel B / New Berlin, WI
Nov 1, 2016: Congratulations to Rachel from New Berlin, WI! She's the winner of our Fall 2016 Scholarship Contest. Rachel submitted her essay on the topic of 'What Autumn Means to Me'. Rachel is attending Marquette University.
Here is Rachel's essay:
The smell of freshly baked cinnamon rolls and warm, home-brewed, spiced coffee rouses me from a deep slumber. As I slip out of bed into my slippers, I feel a slight nip in the air. Slowly, I make my way into the kitchen to find not only the cinnamon rolls and coffee, but also a beautiful cornucopia filled with squash, mini pumpkins, and other various fall treasures resting on the table. Finally,…it is autumn.
When I was little, autumn meant soccer games and pizza parties; piles of leaves and pumpkin patches; Halloween and continuous occurrences of the classic “Booing” game; and, of course, candy! Now, I view autumn as the season of haunted houses and football games; the season of fashionable clothing; the season of endless Instagram photograph backgrounds; and, how could I forget, the season of pumpkin spice lattes. Although my feelings surrounding autumn are still relevant, I believe that it has so much more to offer us than just the newest boots or best pumpkin pie recipe. Autumn, to me, is the season of family and giving.
Giving back and spending time with others invokes a feeling of satisfaction inside of me, something that is spurred with the onset of autumn. Each year, no matter how hectic my schedule may become, my dad and I make a pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving, my mom and I make homemade apple sauce, and my brother and I volunteer our time sorting food for the St. Vincent DePaul Society’s annual Thanksgiving drive. Though the spirit of giving rushes through me every season of the year, autumn tends to create a tangible feeling of giving inside of me. Every October, I fervently await the smiling faces that rush to my door as I hand out candy to trick-or-treaters. I look forward to coming home to play with my dog in the leaves outside. I even eagerly embrace raking leaves outside, for I get to spend time with my family while also helping out my parents and neighbors.
In my experience, fall seems to bring out the best in people, yet so many people view fall as the “season where everything is dying.” Contradicting this common saying, I believe that autumn gives people the opportunity to grow. We are able to grow in our relationships with our friends and family, to grow in the ways in which we give back to those around us, and to grow simply by enjoying everything our world has to offer us. The next time someone asks you to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with them, say yes. The next time someone wants to carve a pumpkin with you, say yes. The next time someone wants you to dress ridiculously for a Halloween party, say yes. Who knows, by saying yes, autumn could open a whole new world of giving. Remember, giving is not something that needs to cost money or take up a lot of time. It is something that brings us together, and for me, that togetherness is fulfilled throughout the entirety of autumn.
Halloween Express SUMMER 2016 Scholarship Winner - Mataya L / Warrensburg Missouri
May 13, 2016: Congratulations to Mataya from Warrensburg, MO! She's the winner of our SUMMER 2016 Scholarship Contest. Mataya submitted her essay on the topic of 'What does Democratic Socialism mean to you AND is it good for America? '. Mataya is attending St. Luke's College of Health Sciences.
Here is Mataya's essay:
Webster’s Dictionary defines democracy as, “a form of government in which people choose leaders by voting” and socialism as, “a way of organizing a society in which major industries are owned and controlled by the government rather than by individual people and companies”. Despite popular belief our government is not a democracy. In order for our government to be a complete democracy, everyone of legal age would have to vote on every law and legislation passed. This type of government was most successful back in ancient Greece but would not be successful for the United States. Instead, our government is a republic. We vote for representatives who then vote for our state. Bernie Sanders often uses Denmark as the Utopian society and the type of government he would like to bring to the United States. However, Denmark’s type of government would never work in the United States for many reasons. While it is great in theory it has not worked for countries with large populations in the past. Russia tried socialism after WWI but it later branched into communism. The United States population is too large for socialism to work. Socialism is successful in Denmark because they have a small population of 5.6 million compared to the United States population of 322.7 million.
The second reason why democratic socialism would never work in the United States is because of our diversity and demographics. The United States used to have the title the “mixing pot” with the belief that settlers from different countries would give up their cultures and everyone would act the same. This did not happen. Instead of “melting” all the cultures together to create one, they were mixed together like a big salad bowl. While the majority of the United States speaks English, people with different ethnic backgrounds still choose to use their native languages even if it is just in their homes. This is very different compared to Denmark, with more than ninety percent having Danish ancestry. This is important for democratic socialism to work because studies show that ethnic groups share many of the same beliefs which affect the way they think and vote. Lars Christensen, a Danish economist, was quoted saying, “Maybe if you wanted to introduce such a scheme in Utah, you could do that. But doing it across the U.S., I find it completely and utterly impossible just for the mere fact that Americans are all so different." I completely agree with Christensen. If the people from the United States shared the same demographics then democratic socialism would be more of a possibility but our country has many ethnicities.
If democratic socialism was introduced in America I fear that it would cause great uproars. Since, the United States demographics are so diverse, it is impossible to get everyone to agree with the change in our governmental structure. Many people would go on strike and others would probably be killed. I also believe that the transfer of wealth would also cause our economy to crash. I strongly believe that the only type of government that will be successful is the government we have now, a capitalist republic. Our society is very market driven and would not adjust well to all receiving the same things. Americans want to have choices on what brands they buy and how much they spend for that item. If Bernie Sanders was to become president and change our current government system our country and economy would fail.
Although, I like the idea of free college, nothing is ever free. Denmark is only able to offer free tuition to their students because of the high taxes that the citizens pay. The taxes in Denmark double and sometimes even triple what Americans pay. Because college is not free in the United States, I do have a large tuition fee to cover. Federal Direct Loans will cover approximately one half of the tuition amount for St. Luke’s College. I will have to take out additional loans to cover the remaining one half tuition, as well as, living expenses and books/supplies.
Halloween Express Fall 2015 Scholarship Winner - Erika P / Provo, Utah
Dec 1, 2015: Congratulations to Erika P. from Provo, UT! She's the winner of our Fall 2015 Scholarship Contest. Erika submitted her essay on the topic of 'Is American Exceptional'? Erika is attending Bringham Young University in Provo, Utah.
Here is Erika's essay:
As a person who has had much exposure to the conditions of other countries, I am convinced that America truly is exceptional and that we should appreciate and celebrate the great opportunity that has been given us to live here. I believe that schools should teach children to be proud of American exceptionalism and also allow them to be aware of and sympathetic to the conditions of others that are less fortunate. Those who would denigrate the idea of American exceptionalism simply do not understand what it truly means. As a nation, we have never declared that we are better than anyone else. We believe that the founding principles of freedom can lift all people, everywhere. American exceptionalism is rooted in our founding documents. No country had ever been founded on principles of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. No other country had ever put so much trust and promise in the hands of the people. The freedom and liberty guaranteed by our founding documents opened the floodgates of invention, ingenuity, creativity and prosperity beyond what the world had ever known.
A year ago, I returned from living for almost two years in Chile. I loved the people, the food and the beautiful landscapes, but many things I saw made me grateful to be a citizen of the United States of America. The longer I lived in Chile, the more I realized how much I had taken for granted growing up in America. . Chile, although presently considered one of, if not the most, advanced countries of Latin America, is very different from America. The older generation still remembers the terror of Communist rule, and tensions with neighboring countries are constantly running high. Frequent strikes by state-run organizations delayed visas and passport processes, brought mail services to a halt and even left the streets of Santiago under piles of trash. During my time in Chile, I met many people that had left their countries to escape even worse conditions such as failing economies, corrupt governments, and violence.
Outside of my experience in South America, I currently major in Middle Eastern studies and have learned much about the way of life for people in that conflict-stricken region. The news has recently revealed the atrocities of ISIS, the Syrian refugee crisis in Europe, escalating conflict in Israeli-Palestinian relations and the disastrous stampede during the pilgrimage to Mecca this year. As I have studied this region, I have grown to love and appreciate the language, culture, and religion. I have also grown more aware of why there are wars, uprisings and conflicts. Failed attempts to implement democracy, corrupt governments and extreme economic decline has made life very difficult for many people in the Middle East.
American Exceptionalism: Is America Exceptional?
Here in America we are fortunate enough to be able to exercise freedom of speech and not fear for our lives. Young people have many educational opportunities and are free to express themselves. The economy, though sometimes up and down, consistently fares better than that of other countries facing extreme inflation and other economic crises. There are two main reasons that America enjoys these exceptional qualities. The first is our constitution that protects our rights and freedoms. The second is the commitment of the American people to elect leaders that uphold and protect the constitution. If we lose sight of these things that made this country exceptional, we could very well be facing many of the problems that plague other countries.
For this reason, I think it is very important for American children to be taught that they live in an exceptional country and that no other country in the world affords the same rights, opportunities and prosperity. However, I also think that it is important for schools to teach about conditions in other countries. With greater global awareness, young Americans will not only be able to better recognize the blessings they have, they will be able to recognize the role and responsibility they have in keeping America exceptional.
I feel like America will only be truly exceptional as long as its people recognize what it is. Many are quick to frown on exceptionalism, because they feel like it makes Americans put themselves on a pedestal and look down on other people. I believe that recognizing the exceptionalism of America allows us to appreciate what we have and sympathize with those less fortunate. Just as important as acknowledging the exceptionalism of America is recognizing that it is not something set in stone, it is something that we can lose as other great civilizations in the past which have risen and fallen. We must protect and preserve our freedoms, by teaching American exceptionalism in our schools. We should encourage young people to learn the importance of participating in government by voting, expressing their views and above all protecting their constitutional rights. And thus, the rising generation will be able promote and even increase the things that make America exceptional and it will continue to be a beacon of hope to the other countries of the world.
Halloween Express Summer 2015 Scholarship Winner - Jessica S / Clearwater, Florida
July 17, 2015: Congratulations to Jessica S. from Clearwater, FL! She's the winner of our Summer 2015 Scholarship Contest. Jessica submitted her essay on the topic of 'What Freedom Means to Me'. Jessica is attending Florida Gulf Coast University in the fall.
Here is Jessica's essay:
Coming to America from a Communist background at one year of age, I did not realize the wonderful gift my adopted parents had given me. My life would have been dramatically different if I had grown up in China. In America, freedom provides everyone with a choice. Personally, freedom means I can express my faith, and set personal goals, knowing that with hard work and determination I will be able to achieve my highest potential. The government does not dictate what job I can ascend to, what god I must follow, or what the future will hold for me.
In China, women are not seen as equal, unlike in America where everyone has the same opportunities. If I want to be a Senator, the President, or a stay-at-home mom, it is my decision. In the fall, I will be majoring in Business Marketing and plan on opening my own business. Because I live in a democracy, I am able to establish a business, without government's absolute control (socialism). We are not judged by the color of our skin, the political party we support, or the gender to which we were born.
Freedom means sharing my religious beliefs without being oppressed. Coming from a Christian background I have different values than some. In many other countries people are persecuted for sharing their thoughts, their holy books, and meeting together for worship. I, on the other hand, am able to go on missions trips, pick the church that suits me, speak openly about my convictions to others (and they to me) without interference or threat of punishment.
I am able to choose what college I want to go to and how far I want to take my academic career. The sky is the limit for those with freedom to pursue higher education, including achieving a Ph.D. and going onto teach others. In contrast, I can choose not to go to college but enter right into the workforce and pursue my dreams, make my own money, and save for a house or car.
When I decide the time is right, I can marry the person that I choose, and he can be from any socioeconomic background, be of any race or religion, and of any age.
Freedom has given me endless opportunities to express my personality, but I need to remember the many lives were lost fighting for America's freedom. There are two popular sayings "freedom isn't free" and "freedom doesn't come cheap". Getting an American education meant learning about the Revolutionary War in which colonists felt leaving England and going to war for an independent New World was worth their very lives. We followed war after war in which America stood up to protect the rights of others in various countries, knowing that democracy is the only way people can live with joy and have a voice in those who govern them. Even today we continue to fight against those in the Middle East who would suppress those freedoms, and deny women and minorities (like myself) the same opportunities to be all they were created to be. Isis torments those who speak up for religious freedom, walking in a way that they don't condone. Through threat and intimidation they seek to quiet the voice of freedom.