It’s a bit of a drag to be away from the states during Halloween and not just because you have no excuse to terrify neighborhood kids. There’s nothing like flipping through cable channels and witnessing 80’s horror flick marathons in the middle of the afternoon. As an English as a Second Language teacher in New York City, it was fun to indoctrinate my immigrant students on spooky customs and traditions. Halloween is a magical time of year when you can blast Type O Negative and chop at a giant gourd with a butcher’s knife while wearing women’s clothing and not catch a second glance. Junkfood becomes a full course meal and these days adults get as excited about Halloween parties as children.
This year we’ll be celebrating All Hallows’ Eve on Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast in Split. While Croatia has some eerie sounding names like Dubrovnik and the island of Korcula they don’t do much on October 31st to celebrate. Last year we were teaching English lessons in Ecuador and our friends who volunteer at the BIB had a costume parade for the youngsters at the center. Down there they are more into the Day of the Dead, and feriados, or local fairs. While hanging out at a graveyard with the spirits of your beloved deceased all night sounds scary, I don’t think anyone actually dresses like the living dead.
A decade back Melissa and I were teaching English in Japan. We had to teach the same exact Halloween themed lesson for an entire month (to different students). It was like Groundhog’s Day in October. Not only did we have to sing the same song and dance every lesson, but we had to teach every class how to make a Halloween mobile using chopsticks. We taught children aged two to fourteen with Peppy Kid’s Club and most of them couldn’t make the mobile themselves. So each night in our apartment, we had to break 30 sets of chopsticks apart, tie them into an X with a piece of string, and then tie a piece of string down each end of the sticks. I got about 200 wood splinters in my fingers and didn’t eat a single morsel of Japanese food.
A few weeks back my niece told my mom it was a shame that I’d be in Europe during Halloween because she knows how much I enjoy it. She is right. I will miss it. Not just because I get to see my nieces and nephews dressed up and steal all of their best candy. But mostly because I’m going to miss the best Halloween party known to man, woman, child, or ghoul. After a one year hiatus the most creative ESL teachers in New York are back at it again. Nobody appreciates the holiday like these guys. Time to let the photos do the talking.