Today is my 2nd favorite holiday (Christmas takes the cake, but it’s a very close race). Normally, my pre-Halloween ritual includes some or all of the following: watching the 1993 classic “Hocus Pocus” with my brother (or by myself during the college years), eating candy corn or those delicious sugary pumpkin things, cobbling a costume together last minute from things I already own, trick-or-treating (even as recently as sophomore year of college – thank you, Oakland Hills), and commenting on how adorable all of the kids I see out and about are.
Halloween in Spain is different – it isn’t celebrated with the same gusto as it is in America. The students at Colegio Leopoldo-Calvo Sotelo asked me why we celebrate it, and I explained that it used to be a day to remember those who have died, but now it’s basically a day for kids to dress up and get candy. The costumes here are all very traditional – no creative Lady GaGas, Antoine Dodsons, Jersey Shore cast-members, or Octomoms will be spotted here, but I have seen a fair number of fake blood, witches (brujas), vampires (vampiros), and assorted monsters. Trick-or-treating hasn’t totally caught on, either, but from the various teachers and parents I’ve talked to in the last week, Halloween is growing in popularity and participation, which is a good thing in my opinion.
How am I celebrating my 2nd favorite holiday this year? Well, I’ve been doing Halloween crafts with the kids I work with for basically 2 weeks straight – as well as word searches, cross-word puzzles, and short-stories. For my three and four year olds, I’ve memorized a song or two about Halloween and have spent some time with a bat puppet (no joke). The first graders learned “One Little, Two Little, Three Little Witches” (It was the only Halloween chant I could really think of). It took them a little while to get the hang of it, but on Thursday one little boy named Leandro sang it during art class as he colored in his witch. Tonight, I’ll be attending a Halloween party with other American auxiliares, dressed as a ladybug (4,50 euro, not too shabby). I’m also going to try and sneak in a viewing of Hocus Pocus today, just for the sake of tradition.
My three-year-old classes are obsessed with this. They can’t really understand any of the words, but then again, neither can their teacher:
Here’s a glimpse into Halloweens past. Not pictured are the childhood years in which I was the Little Mermaid, Harriet the Spy, Kristin of American Girl doll fame, a butterfly, Professor McGonnogal from Harry Potter, or Princess Jasmine.