I’m not normally a big fan of Halloween. In fact, I’m like the Grinch of Halloween. I don’t like horror movies, I’m scared of the dark and I’d much rather go out wearing a new dress and heels than a black cape and a witch’s hat. But this year I was in for a pleasant surprise.
I wasn’t expecting Halloween to be such a big deal here. However, the kids have been practising songs and chants for weeks, wearing a costume was compulsory, and, horror of horrors, we were actually expected to stay late the night before to decorate the school. So far it filled me with just as much dread as every other year. Then when I learned that I would be dressing as Juliet (as in Romeo and) the temptation to pull a sickie was almost overwhelming.
I admit I did feel a bit of a fool walking to work in a full length red and black velvet dress, complete with matching head dress, but as soon as the Snow Whites, the Supermans, and the wizards starting pouring out of the lift into school I genuinely started to enjoy myself. All the hard work decorating the school the night before was well worth it after seeing the smiles on their faces, and my Grinch-like feeling started to wear off. So off we went on our Wonderland Halloween parade, visiting all of the kids’ apartment blocks and performing their well-rehearsed songs and dances to their parents and getting shedloads of candy!
In the afternoon the fun really began. I finally got my chance to make a couple of those little monsters jump out of their skin! That sounds really mean but if you met them I’m sure you’d understand. We set up a ‘haunted house’ round the corridors with giant cobwebs and black netting, turned the lights off and lay in wait… We had to do this for every group of students that come in the afternoon, four in total, and it was brilliant.
After the haunted house, each classroom had various activities in them; orange (not apple, bizarrely) bobbing, piñatas, tarot cards, floor puzzles, etc. I was in charge of the secret box, with cold spaghetti, jelly, wet marshmallows and peeled tomatoes in. Then we rounded off the day by watching Scream. Yes, 12 year olds watching Scream, I thought it was weird too.
So it really was a day of firsts – the first time I spent a Friday morning dressed as Juliet dancing like a pumpkin in public, the first time I jumped out of a dark classroom and screamed at a group of 10 year olds, and the first time I can say I truly enjoyed Halloween!