Friday, November 5, 2010
Last year Halloween was beautiful. It was so unlike an Halloween I have ever had since we were sharing our tradition with people for the first time, which meant it was all about the kids. We played games, danced, and shared ghost stories-complete with a blackout in the middle of the story. We made costumes with the little materials we had, which made them interesting.
This year was going to be different. A few of the Peace Corps volunteers were throwing a party with the JICA volunteers and everyone had enough notice to make a costume….but I didn’t go.
Which meant I was to celebrate Halloween by myself. I wasn’t too worried. I know how to have a good time!
The week before Halloween I began teaching my students about the holiday. I shared with them pictures, books and stories from my past. It was a big step into my life for the year 4-8 classes.
The first day, I don’t know if it was the vocabulary I was using, but the students left my class for the day thinking Americans were weird for what they believed. (In fact they still might think so, from what I was telling them!) This pre assessment told me I had to take a step back.
With the help of my amazing art skills we went over vocabulary, especially what scares us around Halloween. Bats (pe’a) they thought were silly. Bats fly around everywhere and don’t do anything to humans, so why should people be frightened. Black cats (pusi uli uli)are still just cats. Cats don’t do anything bad. I tried explaining how in the dark you only see their eyes and it sends shivers down your spine, and they thought I was even weirder than the start of the class. Ghosts (aitu-probably spelled wrong) were normal. Everyone is scared of ghosts. Then I began to explain the hardest word, since I did not know the Samoan word for it, witches. I tried to explain how a witch could just point at you and turn you into something. I pretended I was a witch and did pointed to a kid and said I would switch you into an apple, pointed to a boy and told him to turn into a girl and so forth. It gave them quite a laugh.
I told them what kids do on Halloween and explained the phrase “Trick or Treat”. I asked them which one they would prefer from a neighbor, a trick played on them or candy, and just about everyone wanted the candy.
After an amazing story, written by yours truly (and other stories around the library) complete with reading comprehension, I taught the kids the amazing rhyme:
Trick or treat
Smell my feet
Give me something good to eat
If you don’t I don’t care
I’ll pull down your underwear
They burst into tears of laughter hearing this. Some of them were curious if people do get their underwear pulled down on Halloween which gave me even more laughs.
Halloween was on a Sunday. So like most Sundays, I went to church. The only reminder I had of it being Halloween and not an ordinary Sunday was when I went with my sister to buy pancakes in the evening. I looked up at the dark, cloudy, spooky sky, and saw a lone bat flying overhead.