“I hate Halloween” sighed one of the 2nd grade teachers as we gazed blankly down a long hallway of screaming children. Halloween is still an up-and-coming holiday in Spain and when you haven’t grown up with it, it can be quite a shock; especially if you are experiencing the anticipation through the eyes of young children which begins a week beforehand. Academic attention spans fly out the window.
Normally in the morning, the speakers play classical music throughout the halls to signify it’s time to go to class. In the afternoon, we leave school to the theme song of Game of Thrones and it’s epic. On Halloween however, we were serenaded with “This is Halloween” from Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas and of course “Thriller.”
Some of the awesome decorations!
The teachers at my school had an official meeting with the auxiliares to brainstorm ideas for what we wanted to do or introduce to the kids. We thought of a number of activities including pumpkin carving and a haunted hallway. In the end, each auxiliar would be in a separate room with a specific activity. I was in the library with the “Pin the Heart on the Skeleton.” We got some special prep time during the week to organize everything. Here is my horribly anatomically inaccurate skeleton:
In second grade, the teacher had me demonstrate how to carve a pumpkin for the last five minutes of the two classes. The squeals were priceless as I pulled the top off and held it up so they could see the inside. Everyone wanted me to give them a seed and touch the goo, but we ended the experience with a telling of the 5 Little Pumpkins with the lights off so they could see their new mascot lit up.
When the dreaded hour hit (for some), each grade visited our activity rooms at a time; meaning we each had 50 students to manage at once…hence the title, “locura.” We only had the last two periods of the day to celebrate Halloween, so each grade had 10 minutes to engage in our activities. For my game, it was impossible to include everyone since each student had to be individually blindfolded and spun around. No matter how many times I explained that a student would not be called on if they were screaming, “Yo! Yo! Heelaryy! Yo, por favorrr!” they quickly forgot and were dumbfounded as to why they were not chosen. My first graders pinned their hearts at the end of the day, so the corresponding teachers helped me get each student through…because tears would have been shed.
The other activities were throwing balls into pumpkins, a freeze game with “Monster Mash” and “Thriller,” and “Mystery Box” where we used cooked pasta, grapes, jello, and popcorn kernels to represent brains, eyeballs, blood and teeth. I was told it was a messy success!
The students and all Spaniards included commit to dressing up as scary and bloody as possible. There is no such thing as a “sexy nurse.” The cutest outfits you can see are black cats and witches, but even then they may be covered in fake blood and slash marks. The 1st grade teacher I work with keeps a blog for the parents and some of the children all dressed up can be seen here.
At Ontario English, we hosted a small Halloween party with crafts for the children. Fortunately, the hour passed quickly before I had to witness the after effects of Coca Cola and potato chips.
When Javi visited Madrid earlier last month, I had the pleasure of helping him carve a pumpkin! If I have anything to do with it, I will help make it a new annual tradition. 🙂
Happy Halloween from Madrid!