I put on some scary evil ghost clown mask when I arrived to work today and then snuck up to the window where my first class was studying with the Korean teacher. I knocked on the window and when the little kids looked up I screamed.
They screamed back, but not in the way I thought they would. Three of them were terrified. And, two of those three, when they stopped screaming, started to cry. I felt kind of bad. Then I remembered how I have to break them up from fighting and whining and shouting and running around chasing one another every day when I start work, and I decided I was going to have to get an inventory of masks and scare the crap out of them daily.
Korean folk do like scary stuff, though. Horror movies rank just below Steven Segal and Jean Claude van Damn-Wham-Bam-Thank-You-Ma'am flicks in popularity. I'm surprised by the ghoulish comics my little students like to read, and I know when I see one of them standing outside the TV room poking half their head in to watch the screen that there's a ghost story on, and they're too scared to have their whole body in front of the TV. So cute!
So I think Halloween could be a big hit here. The sugar junkie kids would sure go for the trick or treat aspect. By and large, though, K-folk just don't get it. I think it would be a very good thing if there were one holiday where people got to dress up as something else. It wouldn't have to be Halloween related necessarily. Just a "be something different for a day" theme would be awesome. I try to encourage my students to come to our annual party in costume. Some will, but most won't. If their parents are willing to shell out for a scream mask or a witches' hat, then sure. If not, they're going to show up as little Taekwondo-people, or in their usual costumes of lunch-covered sweaters.
When I was growing up I never had a store bought costume. Ever. My mom used to help us with out get-ups, and even sewed costumes a few times. One year she fashioned wigs out of red wool and made me an apron and bloomers so I could be Raggedy Anne and to my brother's Andy. We totally won the school's costume parade. I was a gypsy a couple years running. My brother would borrow a dress and sport balloon boobs and be a lady for a day. Once I wore a brown shirt and brown tights and stuck some leaves and a bird in my hair. I was a tree. My friend dressed all in purple and put a shoe on her head. She was grape gum.
So I wish my students would break out with a little creativity and wow me. We'll give out prizes for the best costumes - and I be the judge o'dat, so basically anyone who is "not-Scream" is going to win. This year, our Halloween party was completely organized by yours truly. I sort of had to hassle my new co-workers into even continuing the tradition of doing something special for the day, which is a good thing I think, since our student's have powerful memories and started asking about the Halloween party in the middle of September. Even though we've had a couple meetings about the party, I still don't think my boss and co-workers get it. At the end of the day today we had one bag of candy total - that I donated - and the loot bags I suggested got shot down because nobody wanted to take the time to make them. "The students can get candy if they win a game."
My boss rigged up the big DVD projector with stereo surround sound in the TV room and they decided to show a Halloween movie. I asked them which one, and was told "Scream." (Rated R for strong graphic horror violence and gore, and for language.) Ha! Poor students thought my mask in a window was scary,...
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