The Holiday That Keeps on Giving

November 1st, 2007 by Steph

There’s something really satisfying about celebrating your own holiday in a foreign country. Maybe not the ones where you usually spend time with your family, but the other ones where there’s lots of silly customs and games, those are fun. Take this Halloween, for example. Because I don’t live in the states, I am not subject to the grotesque advertising free-for-all that comes with any major holiday. I have the luxury of ignoring the commercial aspects, and celebrating if and when I want. Cut to this week’s eikaiwa class.

When I told everyone two weeks ago to come to class in costume (class was ON All Hallow’s Eve, after all), I totally thought everyone was going to blow me off. But my class of adults totally rallied, and arrived chalk full of Halloween spirit, complete with hokey rubber masks, treats, and pumpkin paraphernalia. Not being a big costumer myself, I took the easy way out and donned a sketchy santa outfit that was left in my house by some previous ALT. I got to class early, set up my freshly carved Jack O’ Lanterns, turned off the lights, and waited. One by one, my students trickled in… first they cautiously opened the door to find a dark classroom. Then they were bombarded with spooky noises from other students in the dark (egged on, of course, by me). We did the whole flashlight in the face bit. One by one, students joined the ranks and hid, waiting to surprise the next unsuspecting arrival. I was kind of shocked to discover how uniform the costumes were… every woman in my eikaiwa came dressed as a witch, with one creative exception. And the men? They uniformly dressed as…. nothing. Maybe they were charming gentleman callers. Whatever. They were equally game when the women cannibalized their costumes in order to include them in the fun. The first half hour of class was spent dispensing food and generally making a fuss… taking pictures, trading wigs, sitting on laps. You can see why we all love English so very very much.

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