Wednesday, October 31, 2012

해피 할로윈! Happy Halloween!

I broke one of my teaching rules today and gave my students candy. In fact, I've been giving them candy all week, as this week was the week of Halloween-themed English lessons! Yup, I'm doing my part as an American cultural ambassador by teaching them how much we love junk food.

In class, today: "So children dress up in costumes and knock on your door. Then, they say, 'Trick or treat!' and you have to give them candy, because... um... well, just because. So anyway, what kinds of costumes do you see in this picture?"

"My costum is homo-simpson"
Still, the Halloween lessons have been fun. I'm scaring my second-years with horrifying animated gifs from various movies (courtesy Buzzfeed) and having them draw silly or scary Halloween costumes. They also get to watch "Thriller"! My first-years are identifying all the monsters they see in the hilarious video of two women freaking out in a haunted house on the Ellen DeGeneres Show.

And everyone gets candy! And prizes! I went to City 7, a small but pretty shopping mall located in a neighborhood closer to my house than the actual downtown, to find cheap Halloween-themed stuff to give to my students. The E-Mart at the mall had about half an aisle dedicated to kids' costumes and props, all made in China. The tchotchke was definitely cheap in quality, but the prices were almost offensively high. For a few pounds of candy and some plastic jack-o'-lanterns, masks, and the like, I spent 24,000₩. Come on!

Nevertheless, I actually found myself enjoying the light festivities. It just tickled me that I was in a department store in Korea buying fake vampire teeth and Tootsie Roll Pops. This is especially weird because I don't celebrate Halloween, not having dressed up or gone trick-or-treating since I wore a mouse onesie (complete with a hood and tail) in kindergarten. I guess I felt carried along by the wave of every other ESL teacher I know doing something related to the holiday. I also wanted to give my students something fun to do in class -- especially something creative -- because I can see how stressed they are at this time of the year. That's why I've lowered the bar for receiving candy from "Show me your filled-out lyrics worksheet!" to "Just say, 'Happy Halloween!' or 'Trick or treat!'"

So, it's nice to get into the spirit of things. All my students knew that today was Halloween, but they didn't have any plans to celebrate it. I told them that they should play pranks on their friends to scare them.
Anyway, tomorrow is All Saints' Day (which I also, strangely, do not celebrate), but I'll continue with the haunted houses and the costumes. I love what my students have done so far this week -- I'm putting up their artwork on the wall -- and I also have tons of candy and prizes left to give away. It's got to go somehow, and I'm definitely not going to eat it all. Happy Halloween, kids!

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