This year, I get to share one of my favorite holidays with my students: Halloween. While most of the kids have at least heard of it, many of them have not had the chance to dress up, decorate, and go trick-or-treating. So, it was my mission to give them a full and fun Halloween experience.
After I gave them some basic info about the holiday, I was surprised when the kids told me they love scary Halloween movies like “Chucky” and “Scream.” I guess that, while it’s still considered a ‘foreigner’ holiday, Halloween is making inroads into Korean culture. For example, at my neighborhood Dunkin’ Donuts they have spooky decorations and even some Halloween jack-o-lantern and ghost donuts, which are yummy by the way. At E-mart, I even saw some a small display of Halloween costumes for sale. I think within a few more years, Halloween will be practically mainstream here. Until then, onward with the mission…
Phase 1: Spooky classroom.
I wanted the classroom to feel like Halloween.
It took some effort since my co-teachers were busy and unable to help much but it was well worth it.
It took about a week and a half to make stuff and decorate to my liking.
The kids made most of the decorations and put them up.
Afterwards, some of the kids’ reactions were: “Wow! What a nice Halloween party!” “Oooh, Teacher! Halloween!”
Each grade did something different. The 6th graders made Halloween garlands, the 5th graders did posters, and my 4th graders made scary pumpkins.
I was amazed by the creativity of my 4th graders. Here are the materials given them to create their masterpieces. The results are awesome!! You can view them in the slideshow at the end.
After all the hard work and help from the kids, it was on to the next phase.
Phase 2: Bribe them with candy
What is Halloween without dressing up?
Using candy as bait, I gave my kids the chance to do just that as well as some trick or treating. I told them that if they a) dress up in a costume and b) come to my classroom on Halloween day and say the magic words then they would get delicious candy.
I also told them that a few other teachers and I will be in costume to help them not feel so shy about it. I told my co-teachers I was going to be a cat for Halloween and offered to help them with their costumes if they wanted. I ended up making two sets of cat ears and tails and one witch hat.
On Halloween day, I got a lot of compliments for my cat costume. I noticed that my co-teachers were still a bit shy about wearing their costumes and didn’t go full make-up like I did. Oh well, at least they joined in some of the fun.
With the kids, what ended up happening was that a few brought their costumes and then lent them to their friends right after.
One kid would get a hat, the other a cape and the other a mask of a full costume…Lol…
I even saw some kids share a set of creepy fingers, each one had 2 or 3 on and came around to trick or treat. Some of the same kids came back every break to get more candy.
I decided a merit system was in order.
This is how it went: If you had a full costume, you got the best candy. If you had part of a friend’s costume, you got the cheaper candy. If you had no costume at all but said, ‘trick or treat’ you got the cheapest candy and told to come back tomorrow with a real costume!
Phase 3: Watch a Halloween theme movie
On Halloween day we set the mood with a scary-ish movie. Luckily I was able to find some Simpsons Halloween House of Horror episodes with Korean subtitles and show them to the kids. One of my co-teachers loves The Simpson’s so she appreciates the humor; the other one thought it was a bit violent. I guess ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ might be another good option.
I think the best part of the day was when one of my 6th grade classes surprised me with a birthday cake.
It was completely unexpected. I almost cried. Each student chipped in about a dollar to buy me a cake. It was small so we each had about two bites but it was sweet potato flavor (the Koreans love sweet potato) and it was delicious!!
I gave each of the kids candy and we watched the Simpsons the rest of class. They also got a class sticker.
Being far from home, I realize it was just as important for me to get the full Halloween experience and, thanks to my kids: