Halloween in China

China is an atheist country and Halloween doesn’t exist here, unless you’re a teacher and are working with kids, which luckily I am. Halloween has always been one of my favourite holidays, and this year I might not get to go all out and dress up with my besties, instead, this year I get to teach kids and young adults all about it. When I told my classes that this week we would be learning all about Halloween, some of them looked at me with utter bewilderment ( a look I am becoming somewhat accustomed to) and some of them sheer excitement that they get to learn a little more about Western culture, even if it is a celebration where people dress up like something dead or slutty, perhaps I’ll leave the slutty part out.

I gave one of my classes a pre Halloween treat and we watched Paranormal Activity. I was a little nervous about watching it with them because even though the majority of them are 18 none of them have really seen that many horror films. Apparently China banned everything horror related before the Beijing Olympics in a bid to cleanse the nation, say what? Turns out they loved being scared, well some of them anyway. There are some students that no matter how fun or interesting you make your lessons, they just don’t care. Next week I am giving them a chance to get creative and write their own horror stories. Most Chinese students don’t get to be creative with their studying, so I will help them out by teaching them some new horror related vocabulary. I have also written a beginning to a horror story for them to finish and I’m intrigued to see what happens. Some of my students can be a little stuck in their ways and they are often nervous about doing something different or creative for fear of being wrong. Fingers crossed it goes well, if not, I have sweets!

Before my week of Halloween festivities kicks off I get to try my hand at working with young children. I love children, but there is something a little more daunting about looking after a whole bunch of them. My only experience with Chinese children are the crazy kids who I ride the bus with after a day of teaching. Words can not describe how loud, insane and how cute they all are. Here in China the grandparents look after the children while the parents work hard to provide for the whole family. I take my hat off to the older generation who, after years of hard work then have to look after their crazy grandchildren, who jump all over the, scream in their faces and just generally terrorise everyone around them. Having their grandparents look after them means that most of the time they get away with murder. It’s pretty easy to forgive them though because they are just so darn cute.

Yesterday I spent my Sunday with these cuties, telling them all about our Halloween tradition, judging their costumes, playing games and dancing to the Monster Mash song. They even had their own version of apple bobbing which consisted of apples hanging from string and they had to go up to them and take a bite, of course there was only one apple that had six or seven bites out of it as that was the only one they could reach, haha! It was FUN!

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