Halloween Party

On October 31st we treated the 4th-grade kids at the “English Corner” lunchtime session to a Halloween party. By we I mean myself and my new co-volunteer, Yalda Gaffari. Yalda is a young woman from Holland whose heritage is Iranian as her family (parents and two siblings) emigrated to Holland when she was four years old. She is a really nice person and we get along very well. She, like most volunteers, will be here for four weeks so she will actually leave a week before me.

The Chinese kids know very little about Halloween because it’s not celebrated here. We wanted to do a really fun event with costumes and maybe a haunted house, but the lack of available Halloween costumes and supplies in Shanghai made that impossible. But thanks to the “care package” that Grace, Michael and Barb Bilancioni sent me, we did have some cool plastic spiders (which we hung from the light fixtures) and several halloween balloons to decorate the classroom. Yalda and I bought pumpkins (yellow, tall variety that turned out nicely) at the local market and carved them in our rooms the night before. She had seen jack-o-lanterns before but had never carved one. She drew the faces and I cut them out and I think we enjoyed it as much as the kids.

I put together a quick Powerpoint presentation to show the kids what Halloween is about and Yalda came up with a game where the kids have to pick up a pumpkin seed (by inhaling through a straw) and carry it the length of the room. We tried to get the kids to understand how to run a relay race but the language barrier and their excitement turned the race into chaos. But they had fun with it and that was what counted.

Then we had the kids wrap each other as mummies using toilet paper. They had an absolutely wonderful time – I can still hear them laughing. Some of the fun is captured on the video below.

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