Harry Potter. The Phantom of the Opera. Thor. A pirate, a baseball player and a gentleman in a bowler hat. Logan Houghtelling turned into all of them, in class, and way before Halloween — all to bring some cheer to his own life and the lives of his friends.
Life was difficult for the San Francisco Bay area teenager. He worried about his father, a firefighter who was battling wildfires, and missed his friends during the coronavirus pandemic. “I thought, ’Well, I know other people are feeling like this. 'So, why don’t I dress up and try to bring happiness to people?'”
So starting in August, he set out to cheer up his classmates, his family and others who have come to wonder what he’ll wear next for his classes on Zoom.
One day, he popped up on screen in a toga and a golden leaf crown; another day, he donned a cowboy hat and a western shirt. In September, he wore the uniform of the Chicago Cubs. He became a snorkeler, and Stitch from “Lilo & Stitch.” In October, he was Homer Simpson, a ’50s greaser and Seymour Krelborn from “Little Shop of Horrors.” He even dressed up as a bottle of sriracha sauce.
“I’ve had two teachers just stop mid-sentence and start laughing,” the 15-year-old said. For this interview, he wore a white shirt, suspenders and a bow tie -- with pants instead of shorts, because he felt it was a special occasion.
“I’ve had classmates text me like, ‘What are you wearing?’ And it’s like, ‘Yeah, you know, I’m just doing this today.’”
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Most ideas come from Halloween costumes that he wore on previous years and clothes from around the house that he adapted with the help of his mother, Meredith Christensen-Houghtelling, an elementary school teacher.
“I’ve actually had friends who I’ve bumped into in the grocery store that are like, ’You haven’t been posting his pictures lately, I look forward to his pictures every day,'” she said.
“So, it’s kind of nice to see that even friends of ours that we don’t see that often are just waiting to see what crazy costume he’s had on for the day.”
The Arroyo High School sophomore has also made special appearances elsewhere. While his 12-year-old brother Cody attended a virtual class, he dropped by in the background as the titular character of the “Where’s Waldo?” books.
“And so, in the middle of the class, he’s like, ‘I see Waldo!'” his mom said laughing.
Houghtelling said that it’s important to try to focus on the positive and help lift others up.
“I think there need to be people that go out and, you know, bring people happiness,” he said. "More people need to do that. We just need to spread positivity.”