So here is Halloween in Taiwan in two sets: Kids and Big Kids.
Halloween isn't really celebrated here except by the expat community and in some English curricula. Most of the ETAs had some sort of commitment with the school to put on a costume and get the kids to say "trick or treat"; Laura, for example, has a costume runway show.
My school is a bit too big for that kind of special attention, but I was part of a now 4 year Halloween tradition. A group of 10 or so student teachers work in different grades throughout the school. All of us assembled early in the morning, costumed up, and began the journey to the classrooms.
70 some classrooms.
3600 pieces of candy.
Kids are encouraged to wear costumes and spook us back.
Night On Bald Mountain was on repeat for the larger part of the day.
The process was as follows:
****Grab some Candy**** (not my pic)
****Fall in Line****(not mine)
****Sneak Up****(not mine)
****Spook (or in this case, pillage and maim)****(not mine)
****Offer Candy in exchange for "Trick or Treat: Happy Halloween!"****(not mine)
So Halloween here is a clearly simulated process. One example of it's diffusion as it bounces back and forth across the continents via popular media is the appropriateness of costume. In Taiwan, a fan of horror flicks with pale ghosts with black teeth (as is a lot of Asia), Halloween is a time for the spookiest costume. There are a few obligatory fairy wings and of course, Spider-man or the Latest-adapted-to-film-superhero-joe-schmoe costume. However, most people my age that I talked to about selecting an outfit did not have as broad a concept of Halloween Costume as do most people I know from home.
We love to play the nerd. We love to put on a box and say "From: God, To: Women". There is humor in it. There's a lot about dressing as other, donning a new personality for the evening, and being someone unfamiliar even to ourselves.
Here, it's more about being something dead, dying, or just spooky. The kick isn't so much dressing up as other, but dressing up as scary. It's a subtle difference that I noted only in (one or two) failed attempts to participate in the student teachers' planning process. They were all picking out costumes and thinking about concepts, and I realized quickly that suggesting cowboy or nerd wasn't really going anywhere with them.
****Lot about Being Dead**** (not mine)
Best Class to Spook:
5th Grade Girls Dance Team - they were rehearsing in the basement dance studio, a large room full of echoes, mirrors, and only the little half-size windows near the building foundation. Lights off, Night on Bald Mountain on, and they were off and running. Terrified little herds of leotards panicking into the corneres. They'd try to split up and we'd catch 'em in 2's or 3's; sticking together they were doomed to a mass execution in the corner. Nothing but the dust settling in the slivered light from the basement windows. The perfect midday massacre.
****3rd Grade Angel Class - Dance Team****
So, that was Halloween in school for me. Big Kids like Halloween, too.
Here are some pictures from the less-mature of the Halloween celebrations I had this week: