Halloween is widely celebrated all over the world, but this has not been the case for so long for Russia. Russians only recently started part-taking in the festivities that Halloween has to offer. Let me tell you about my Halloween party while I was teaching English in Russia.
The week leading up to Halloween in Russia we could all feel the excitement rising as we were preparing and decorating our classrooms to give it a real spooky and festive feel. We had bats hanging from the curtains, Jack o lanterns with candles inside on the tables, black cats up on the cupboards, spiders in webs on the walls, ghosts hanging from the ceiling and more. Everyone was super amped for the big day to come, including me.
On the 31st October all the kids came to school very excited and proud of their outfits. One girl dressed up as a butterfly fairy, another as a pumpkin, one came as Maleficent (my favorite of course) and so the list goes on. In class I focused on a Halloween themed lesson, where I had flashcards (and a real) pumpkin, bats, black cat, sweets ghost etc. The kids reacted well to this lesson as the classrooms had been decorated in the same way so they understood it much better. I then taught them a Halloween song which they loved and sang along to the best of their ability.
For our craft lesson, I gave each child a paper plate which we then painted orange, and we stuck cut out eyes, ears and a skew mouth to try and replicate the look of a real Jack o lantern. They were thrilled with the outcome and later on couldn’t wait to show their parents what they had made!
Before lunch all the kids gathered around and made ginger bread man cookies, they were each given a cookie cutter and asked to cut the dough into this shape, for some this was the first time they had done this and we could see the eagerness and enthusiasm to do this. Once the cookies were baked in the oven, they were able to decorate their cookies with sprinkles chocolate sauce, etc. They could then take these cookies home to share with their family.
After nap time, we had a lady come in and entertain the kiddies with an ancient Russian tale with a Halloween twist to it. Of course it was all in Russian so I did not understand anything but judging from the giggles and huge smiles on the kids’ faces I think it’s safe to say that they had a ball. We then had the opportunity to take some photos and just enjoy the afternoon before everyone went home. I think it is safe to say that everyone (including teachers) had a super day, celebrating something a little out of the ordinary for Russians but I’m sure in the years to come, it will be celebrated just as much and regularly and to the extremes as that of the West. We are all looking forward to the next Halloween party in Russia as I’m sure it will be even bigger and better!