Monday, October 27, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Imagine that you know nothing of a culture and you are a newcomer living within it. You wander into the supermarket or Walgreens and you are immediately face to face with: A plastic skeleton that laughs menacingly when you walk by. There is a disembodied hand that wiggles its fingers if you touch it. There are orange and black colored things everywhere, and there is so much candy around, it seems as if everyone has suddenly gone on a sugar binge.

Confused? The next time you're out and about, think about how baffling this holiday time must be for our students. Yesterday I was shopping and I stumbled upon a huge Christmas display with shelves stocked for a holiday that isn't even this month or next.

There are many potential lessons wrapped up in our holiday traditions. I've often told my students (at the higher levels) that most American holidays came from Europe where they were already a mixed up combination of ancient animist traditions and newer Christian holy days that were sometimes moved to coincide with the less religious celebrations. Personally, I get very frustrated when I hear someone say that Halloween is about death or the devil or satanism. Who started this rumor?

If you want to know the true origins of Halloween and get some great lesson activities as well, check out these online resources or do a Google search using the keywords "ESL Halloween." Click the underlined text to go to a link.

Finally, you should definitely explain to your student that on Friday night, little costumed creatures will be knocking on the door and looking for candy. those with kids in elementary school may be expected to provide party treats or a costume for their child at the very least.

Here's hoping your Halloween is more treats than tricks. --SM

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