When we were kids, our mam would dress us all alike for the holiday - 7 pirates or headless horsemen would walk fearlessly down the street visiting all the neighbours. Our costumes ranged from shepherds, when there were only three of us, to a Chinese Dragon with the littlest one being pushed in the buggy. We'd great fun and all the older neighbours loved us coming by and would ply us with crisps, chocolate, peanuts and fruit. Although I am a chocolate nut (pun intended), my favourite things were the pears, apples and mandarin oranges. These would last us the week and, because of the season, were so sweet and delicious. We used to give up chocolate for the month of November, so Hallowe'en night culminated in a mouthwatering feast.
|Photo courtesty of my mother.|
Also, a friend of mine hosted Hallowe'en parties for her friends two years running. The first year, she and I had been in Edinburgh at the start of October and she was able to pick up some Hallowe'en items. I'd also been wandering around some of the charity shops (think Thrift stores, American readers) and came across some old silver candlesticks for her. Her Hallowe'en get-together was fantastic. She made a really fancy, delicious meal and everyone was dressed up as witches, burlesque girls, or gypsy fortune tellers. The following year, instead of a sit-down meal we had nibbles and wine, a much larger gathering and lots of laughs. That year I was the goddess Gaia and we had a lot of vampires, devils, queens and sailors. Thanks to my friend's great love of all that's spooky, my appreciation for Hallowe'en increased.
When I came to Korea, I was delighted to find out that on the Saturday around Hallowe'en people do usually dress up and go out drinking. There is even a zombie walk for those who want to participate. I saw some people with incredible, terrifying and realistic costumes from this event. Seriously, I was so creeped out! I think Zombies creep me out more than any other Hallowe'en character. (Yuck! Even writing about them gives me the heebie jeebies.) On the night in question, myself and some friends went to Hongdae. One of my friends dressed all in black except for a mouth mask that was purple. She looked really mysterious and like a burglar! I met up with several friends who ranged from doing the Korean "Matchy" cute couple to an Egyptian Princess and Mummy. We even had a Katniss from Hunger Games! The highlight of my night was meeting a guy who was the spitting image of Neil Patrick Harris (Barney Stinson from How I met your mother)! I even got to kiss him (on the cheek)!
Actual Hallowe'en was spent lying in as my school let me take a holiday-day as my brother is visiting. I then got up at 8.30 and started cooking and cleaning for the pot-luck dinner. A bunch of friends, new and old, came over for dinner and some even got into the spirit of Hallowe'en and dressed up. All in all it was great night and although I was exhausted by the end of the evening, I was really glad that I hosted this event. My brother was amazing and helped me re-arrange my apartment in a much more spacious manner. The food was amazing, the company even better and a lot of people left tons of candy which I shared out amongst my students at my 2nd school for our Hallowe'en party there.
|All photos this year except top left.|
So you might think I'm mad to love Hallowe'en as much as I do, especially considering scary movies are not my thing. You might think I'm mad to continue dressing up even though I am now over 30 and you might think I'm mad to celebrate Hallowe'en 6 times in the space of 1 day! For this last one, I completely understand anyone's viewpoint on this - but as an English teacher the greatest lessons I can teach my students are the ones that reflect my culture. Hallowe'en is a traditional Celtic Holiday and has had a major impact on Irish cultural history and traditions, some of which persist to today. Whilst I don't intend to celebrate Hallowe'en every year with my students, it is important that they are exposed to this holiday, if only to let them find new ways of exploring English.
PS This post is inspired by my love of Halloween and The Addams Family theme song.