Halloween

This is the first post in Photo Series 1: Stories From China, as explained in my hook post.


It’s the week of Halloween. I need to teach fourteen 60-student classes (14*60 = 840!) about the holiday. Time to get dressed up. Scour my room for random items and create characters from their amalgamations. Construct a “tourist” costume and give them my camera to take the pictures you’ll see below (brilliant Rhys, just brilliant). Bring it all to class and…GO! Here are the costumes:

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Gotta have a witch. She reps it well.

witch-end-of-week

This is what a witch hat looks like after 800 students have a go at it.

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I’m two Chinese celebrities at once: Jay Chou (guitar) and Fan Bing Bing (sparkle dress on my left shoulder).

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Boxer.

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Crazy goggle monster.

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Stylish ghost.

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Ghost, chinese-dragon style.

miner

Miner.

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Lebron James. (The jersey, that is.)

gophoodie1

Some of the costumes were a bit weird. This costume is just me. I wore that gray hoodie nearly every day. My students were a bit grossed out, but got peer pressured into wearing it. Hooray!

food-person

Another weird one. The kid on the right is Food Man!, a fruit-carrying, hot-dog-wrapped-in-paper wielding superhero/chef.

soup-monster1

Oh soup monster. Why are you so sad?

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Using all the costume accessories they can find to create a mega-costume. Boy version.

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The female equivalent. Less loco, more stylish.


After giving out all the items, I’d bring a table of students outside. We’d go through the pile of costume accessories and create characters for each person.  Then, Jay Chou and Fan Bing Bing would go inside and greet the series of strange characters that came into the room. It looked like this (note all the laughter):

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Getting ready outside, pre-costume.

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Laughing at someone offscreen. Love the girl’s laugh.

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Laughing at someone onscreen.

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Rawr. Where’s the costume?

goodtime1

Smiles.


When my kids started to feel that freedom and craziness of the day, they just got goofy:

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weird3

weird4

weird1


Finally, a group of pictures that just make me smile.

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Probably my favorite picture of all. That confidence.

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Damn cute.

unrelated-blackboard

Costume?

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Obligatory peace sign.

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Trying to do homework! Not on Halloween ya ain’t.

artsy1

Just perfect.


Until Next Time

There were two main things that made this week awesome (for me and my students). First, anticipation. Starting Monday at 8:00am, I was lurching around the schoolyard with a hammer, a witch’s hat, a guitar, a pile of food and a tower of clothes (among other things). When kids see me on Monday and then hear rumors about the crazy class on Tuesday, they can’t help but feel that hype for our Wednesday class. Second, comfort. I tried to create a safe space in which my students felt little hesitation just letting go. I made it clear from the start that this is Halloween goddamnit and ain’t no one gonna be judgmental.

Constructing this post has definitely made me nostalgic. I miss my students. How could I not miss these awesome memories we created together?

Hope this article gave you a fun first glimpse into my teaching life in China. Sound off in the comments or on social media with questions or your own Halloween-in-a-strange-place experience.