Holidays are a funny thing. We think of them as being universal, but they really aren’t. Most of our holidays are unique to our country and our culture.
Halloween is a wonderful holiday and I have always loved it, but telling Korean kids (and even my co-workers from England and Australia about it) absolutely made me sound nuts.
My students completely refused to believe that you could knock on a strangers door and get candy. They flat out called me a liar. To them, you would never talk to a stranger. You would never go to a strangers house. And even your parents are not likely to give you candy because they are a very health-conscious culture.
So there I was, trying to defend grown adults wearing costumes, taking candy from strangers, and putting up skulls all over your house.
It made me realize that yes, Halloween does sound crazy from the outside. We’re just so used to some things that we consider normal, and so to us, those things don’t seem bizarre at all. And yet, when you take those things out of context, they can actually seem really strange to others.
I found myself defending my culture a lot. Not in a bad way, exactly, but just in the way that you would expect. Children are curious and they ask a lot of hard questions because they don’t really have social boundaries like adults.
Their questions, however difficult, demanded answers. I did my best to be a good ambassador for my country and my culture, and I hope I proved equal to the task.
A tip for teachers: Going as a witch is fine. But if you teach small children, do not go for a scary costume. My zombie costume wasn’t even that good, and I still made a few little girls cry.