Saturday, November 5, 2011

Halloween in Taiwan Part 2: Party at Dong Sing

See? Teaching is fun.
Have I ever told that you that I love Halloween? Because I love Halloween. Don't get me wrong, Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Easter are great too but, for my money, Halloween just about the most entertaining holiday around. So imagine the sheer joy I felt when I showed up at Dong Sing Elementary last Tuesday for our school Halloween party only to discover that Halloween might, dare I say, be even more entertaining as an export.

I've always been a sucker for homemade costumes and creativity and my students my kids had both in spades. Who knew that trashbags and paper could be such versatile costuming materials?

Siena and I with our 3rd graders. Confession: we didn't get a lot of work done in class that day (and it was awesome!) 
Homemade goodness
That's right, he made his own flamethrower. Never underestimate the creativity
of little boys given permission to make their own weapons.

The principal let Siena and I organize a school wide Halloween party after lunch. All 138 students had to wear a costume of some sort (as I mentioned, the vast majority were homemade). The teachers all pitched in and a some of the parents even came in to help out. While it's been gaining popularity over the past few years, Halloween isn't really celebrated here in Taiwan. So it was really great how everyone was so willing to go out of their way to help me spread this little piece of American culture.

My very happy 2nd graders
Here are some highlights from the festivities:

1. Cookie-on-a-String Eating Contest (adapted from the donut-on-a-string race)

We decided that buying a donut for every student would be too expensive, so we switched to cookies. It took Siena and I an hour to tie all of the cookies up but it was totally worth it. Watching all of my students struggling to eat a cookie without their hands? Priceless.

We had a little too much fun
preparing for the cookie race.

The kids are chanting "Chi diao," which basically translates to "Eat it all!"

2. The Mummy Race 

Mummy Siena lending a hand
The toilet-paper-mummy race is an all-time Halloween favorite of mine. The students at Dong Sing all seemed to approve as well : ) 

Get ready...

... get set... 


3. Pin the Tail on the Cat

A Halloween-y twist on the classic party game. For the record, it was originally supposed to be a black cat (but whatever).

4. Trick-or-Treating

We finished off our Halloween party with a quick trick-or-treating run around the neighborhood. Siena talked with the neighbors who lived closest to the school and all those that volunteered to help out were subsequently engulfed by a candy fueled mob of cuteness. 

Somehow, I don't think they minded.

 Of course, as with most aspects of American culture that have been imported by Asia, I don't think everyone quite got it. Instead of giving candy to the trick-or-treaters, one older gentleman in the neighborhood handed out tea eggs (basically eggs that have been hard boiled in tea instead of water).

"Gabby teacher, what am I supposed to do with this?"
Then again, who hasn't been given something completely random and decidedly not sugar based while trick-or-treating (a toothbrush, a box of raisins, plastic army men, etc)? I guess it's an American Halloween tradition after all.

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