HAPPY HALLOWEEN from SOUTH AFRICA!!!
This past Friday, 31 October 2008, ghastly ghouls, big bottomed gogos, and wicked witches roamed the dusty roads of Brooksby Village for the first time in history! That’s right; Halloween came all the way to South Africa this year for at least one small village.
For the past two to three weeks I have been teaching the kids at the elementary school about the holidays in the United States as an Arts and Culture unit. As some of the holidays are shared by both countries, such as Christmas and New Year’ Day, we chose to focus on only those that are different. Because it was the month of October and Halloween was completely unknown to all residents of Brooksby Village, I decided to teach them about All Saint’s Day!
The kids were not unlike children from the United States, finding the idea of scaring people and getting bulging bags of candy for it too good to be true. I don’t think I have ever captivated my grade 5 students’ attention so intensely before. I would have loved to see what images they were creating inside their heads! Combining their definite desire to experience the spooky holiday, their lust for sweets of all kinds, and my longing for any American cultural activity, I decided to hold the first ever village trick or treating at my house!
I told all the students in grade 4 to 7 that on Friday, 31 October, from 5:30 to 7:00pm they could come to my house and get candy, UNDER THE FOLLOWING CONDITIONS:
1. They must be wearing some form of costume…OR
2. Clothing that has both orange and black colors
3. Must knock on my door and yell “TRICK OR TREAT” when I open it
The stage was set, the candy was purchased, and then the rest was just waiting to see what the kids would do.
Even before the 5:30pm start time, the young kids in grade 4 and 5 started to pop over, most of them not quite understanding the rules, just expecting to get candy for showing up. Some of them knew enough to wear black and orange clothing which resulted in them getting more sweets. Then a few kids showed up with black shoe polish on their faces; this soon became a hit! Kids would run home and get the polish, smear it on their faces, and come running back hoping to score more candy. I could only wonder what parents and other villagers thought when they saw children in dark painted faces scurrying about the village.
Just before the 7:00pm cut off time, the grade 7 girls showed up in full Halloween attire! I was amazed at the lengths they had gone to prepare a definite Halloween worthy costume. For never experiencing the holiday before, their costumes were spot on! Just see the pictures!
In the end, I was well pleased with the whole affair. Well over 50 kids had stopped by my house for candy, most of them following all THREE RULES. Some of the costumes were well put together and deserving of a deep belly laugh or a frightened shiver. The candy lasted for every child to get something but with nothing left or remaining. And the best part of all was the happy smiles on their face and mine and the busting laughs we all shared together. Halloween had come to Brooksby Village for the first time in history and it can never be forgotten by those who were there. J