5 November 2021

#AntarcticLog: Happy Halloween!

Posted by Shane Hanlon

#AntarcticLog is a series of comics by Karen Romano Young. You can find the originals here.

I’ll make no bones about it: I love Halloween.  There’s something freeing about masks (even in pandemic times), costumes (this year my costume is a raccoon), and decorations involving our deepest, darkest fears and nightmarish stories. 

Autumn often brings me to libraries and classrooms to talk about writing, art, Antarctica, and climate change — and this comic came right out of the audience for one of those discussions. 

Thanks, Isabella, for the question, and scientist Sarah Kienle for the answer! While I’m in Antarctica, and anywhere I’m doing outreach, people often come up to me and ask something along the lines of, “Want to see something cool?”  I always feel a bit of trepidation, but I also always say yes.  This one time I was invited to see what was left of a penguin’s tail and back skin after a leopard seal had gotten to it — revealing the formation of the feathers. 

Scary stuff? Yes, in a way. But it also appeals to kids — as does Halloween — in a deliciously shivery way.  My grandsons, of trick-or-treat age, are on the cusp of realizations that will send them barreling to the real fear expressed by today’s youth activists.  These important people in their teens and twenties are passionate about their desire for a secure future — one being debated at this week’s COP26 climate conference in Glasgow. May the kids prevail! 

Karen Romano Young is a writer, artist, deep-sea diver, and polar explorer. Follow her on Twitter & Instagram