Tuesday, November 10, 2009


I refused to let my first Halloween outside of American get dampened simply because I was in a culture that doesn't celebrate it. So I did what any good, Halloween-loving American would have done in my situation--I forced Halloween on my students in an attempt to brainwash them into believing it's the greatest holiday ever.

The students (and, surprisingly, the teachers) were actually fine with my little plan. They were fascinated by this strange holiday where we "dress up like monsters and beg for candy." And so, I promised my students an entire month of Halloween activities. We started slow, by watching a scary movie (The Others) and worked our way up to the arts and crafts. I focused on Halloween during my after school English programs each Monday and Saturday. For the first two weeks of the month we watched The Others and learned about scary movies. The next week we made pumpkins out of strips of paper, thanks to a brilliant idea I found online for mess-free pumpkin carving. I was NOT about to risk the money, time, or mess of having thirty 10-year olds carve pumpkins in my classroom.
At Youngnam, I had the 1st and 2nd graders make pumpkins out of balloons, another clean Jack-o-Lantern method, and then taught them terms about fall and Halloween.
And of course, no Halloween would be complete without trick-or-treating. I told my students to visit me (any time except during a class) on Friday, October 30th and say "Trick or treat!" Weren't they surprised, then, when I wasn't there on the 30th because I found out on the 29th that I would be going to Seoul with the rest of the EPIK teachers in Gyeongbuk. When I returned on Monday, the students were not happy with me. So I promised them that if they came back on Wednesday, I would have their candy. Well--I forgot about it on Wednesday. So I pushed it to Thursday. And FINALLY, on November 5th, my students had their candy. Luckily, since Halloween is nearly meaningless here, they didn't mind the tardiness too much. They cared much more about the results than the practice of getting them.
And so my crusade is put on hold until next October, when I will continue bringing Halloween to conservative Korea--one school kid at a time.


  1. They probably put you on a short list of demon worshipers after their children came home with balloons like that.

  2. Look on the bright side...it is a short list :)

  3. Those paper pumpkins turned out super cute!

    I'm so envious that you were able to teach Halloween. I was in the middle of Sara-please-do-two-book-lessons-at-once-for-three-weeks. Seriously though, I'm glad you were able to do that, and you had some perfect ideas.

    I'm so happy I was able to do the lesson with you for the English camp with the balloons though, that was amazing.

  4. Great creativity Scott. Looks like the kids had a great time learning about and celebrating Haloween. Dad

  5. I'm not so sure about your optimism, Amanda. If it's a short list, I'm more easily identifiable.

  6. I keep forgetting to tell you how much I love this!!! So awesome! I am also jealous that their fake jack-o-laterns came out better than my real one! -- Jess--

  7. ** Jack-o-lanterns**, sorry! - Jess