…is my favorite, and it is not disappointing me. I’d say the highlight occurred today, where the kindergarten and preschool forwent regular lessons and instead threw a halloween party for the kids! It’s my number one holiday, but not all that known here. As China gets more affluent they begin to incorporate more Western practices into their culture, and our “halmark” holidays I think are among those. Christmas is the only one you see getting true face time here, in any season; year round you can find Christmas symbols and characters adorning random products and bastardized christmas songs playing over the loudspeakers at the mall while you shop. I kind of missed seeing everything all decked out in spookiness for Halloween. I love how in the states, all the grocery stores and pharmacies are taken over by polyester spiderman costumes and mini candies and those annoying motion sensing robots that cackle or start to sing when you pass. Ahhh what a perfect time of year where I come from. Okay, sorry, that is the second phase of culture shock talking: over idealizing of the homeland!

Anyway, I became the halloween consultant for this little party. (I wish that were a real job, by the way). My adoring mother did not leave me ill prepared for this task in a care package I received several weeks ago. Pianpian and Keke (my two chinese teachers and dare I say, friends) were adorably bemused by the cotton cobwebs I brought in. We had fun stretching it out over the banisters and making little spiders to live in it. They were kind of mystified by the thought when I told them this stuff is EVERYWHERE around halloween in the states.

spider webs from America put to good usespider web from america, put to good use

I’m such a dork, but I think I was as excited as any of the kids would be when I woke up this morning. I put on my halloween party outfit, including tights and a wig straight out of my care package (thanks mommm!!!)

halloween party outfit
he's looking at my wig! ha
(^I managed to capture this priceless reaction to the wig I was wearing! HAHA!)

and went into a properly spookified classroom greeted by lots of little children in homemade masks.

halloween masks
me and a masked villain

I had made a little “pin the tail on the black cat” game (‘black cat’ was one of the halloween vocab words I taught this week so I thought it only appropriate), expecting to set it up in the corner of the room and have kids come up and play it as they pleased. What I was not expecting was for the whole kindergarten and preschool combined, as well as visiting early childhood education university students, to line their chairs up like when I do lessons and wait for me to make a kind of presentation out of it! I was not prepared for that, and it’s not really the nature of the game for people to watch quietly as everyone takes their turn; it was a more somber game of pin-the-tail, but whatever! I winged it, and the kids had fun.

pin the tail on the black cat
pin the tail on the black cat

When it was over, there were lots of eyes blinking at me expectantly for another game, and one of my students (bless her) requested “duck duck goose” so I turned it into “ghost ghost pumpkin” and it filled up the rest of the time quite nicely and got everyone lively and having fun. Pianpian and Keke stopped me abruptly because the children had to go outside for morning exercises… which is odd: they cancel all classes for the day but morning exercises must be attended as usual? But I was just relieved to not be the center of attention anymore!

morning exercisesmorning exercisemorning exercises

The rest of the day was a breeze. The kids made halloween art projects and pretty mush just ran around playing in their masks and having candy. I gave out spider ring prizes. I also did a little face painting. I think I wanna be a carnie when I grow up.

halloween crafts
Kingty working on halloween craftshalloween crafts

Nathan as a scary vampire- MUAHAHA
don't lose your mask in the ball pit
ooooooh scary!
spider man
halloween queen Jenny

face painting
face painting

enjoying english halloween book
Another care package shout out: Ethan there is enjoying the book that ALL the kids love to look at and have me read, a halloween story in English!

It was an awesome day. Although Halloween novices, these children seemed as adept as any at tricks and treats, and they took to it like naturals. But what’s not to love about a holiday that celebrates mischief and candy and fun and kids being the center of it all? Those are the kind of golden values that transcend language and culture and all that other crap.

Look, here’re the party animals now!
halloween group photo
some of my students
some of my students
cutie patooties