REaChing for the stars
Empowering English Language Learners
It is mid-October, and there is a chill in the air. With that chill, comes shorter days, colored leaves, and Halloween! Around the world, Halloween is one of the most marketed holidays. In the U.S., children dress up in costumes and head out to the streets on October 31st to "trick - or - treat" and get scared in haunted houses or haunted walks through the woods. They carve pumpkins and put candles inside to decorate their front steps. Halloween parties and parades are plentiful, for all ages, it is a time of good fun and disguises. In Japan too, and other places around the world, signs of Halloween abound, with paper banners adorning store windows and Halloween candy and costumes for sale. But, do you know the history of Halloween?
According to the History channel, Halloween comes from the Celtic festival of Samhain. For Samhain, people would make big bonfires and wear costumes to scare away ghosts. Later, in the 18th century, Pope Gregory III from Syria chose November 1st as All Saints Day, a day to celebrate saints and martyrs. Some of the rituals from Samhain were used in All Saints Day celebrations. October 31st became "All Hollow's Eve" and then Halloween. Over time, it slowly changed to become what it is today.
While in Japan Halloween is a highly marketed holiday, meaning Halloween "stuff" is sold and displayed everywhere, it is not fully celebrated. However, my birthday falls on October 29th, and so, Halloween has always held a special place in my heart. I miss the hot apple cider, the cool fall walks among the colored leaves, the plentiful pumpkins for carving, and the spooky feeling in the air on Halloween night in Vermont. My students helped me feel that spooky feeling a little bit at the Haunted House at school festival, and now it's time to return the favor. Usually for Halloween at KTC we have parties with our classes or do something special, which the students love. I made a box of Halloween costumes and students raid it and get a good laugh out of trying on various masks, wigs, and outfits. They especially love the free candy. We also tell scary stories. This year, when I was looking for a good Halloween comic to share with my Comics' class, I found a list of "7 Short and Spooky Webcomic Stories to Keep you Awake all Weekend." As I scrolled through a couple of the stories, I felt that Halloween chill. I can envision rolling through the panels on the big screen in the classroom, reading aloud the text to students, with the lights down low, and allowing the "jump factor" to take affect. I can't wait!
Here are some other Halloween stories I've found that are great.
For younger students:
Please leave comments if you have other good suggestions. Also, I created a fun Halloween music playlist on YouTube. Use it if you'd like!