Boo! Shriek! Eek! It’s time for American Holidays Abroad: Halloween in Spain edition!
Image Credit: Aotaro; Text Overlay: Backpacking Brunette
Okay, I don’t actually have a feature called American Holidays Abroad, but that’s kind of a good idea. As an expat, I find it super interesting to celebrate holidays abroad, especially holidays with American roots. It’s fun to see how a country adopts a foreign tradition and makes it into something of their own.
Celebrating Halloween at School
This year was my third time celebrating Halloween in Spain and my second time participating in the Halloween festivities at the primary school where I teach English. My school organizes its Halloween celebration as part of the bilingual curriculum. In addition to studying the language, students learn about the cultures of different English-speaking countries.
On Friday, October 28, the students arrived at school wearing costumes. According to USA Today, this year, the three most popular costumes among children in the U.S. were Batman, Wonder Woman and a princess. That was definitely far from the trend for Halloween in Spain.
My second graders were dressed to the spooky nines. Zombies. Vampires. Skeletons. Ghosts. Witches. Even the little girl dressed as a black cat had some fake blood running from the corner of her mouth. The only “superhero” in the room was the Joker.
The older students, fifth and sixth graders, were dressed mostly in normal clothes but had their faces made up. When I asked a few of them what they were, they shrugged their shoulders and told me they were niños muertos (dead children).
Amazing, right? It’s nice to see Halloween has stayed true to its scary roots somewhere.
I went dressed as a witch, which in hindsight was kind of lame, but the students really liked my bat pin that blinked an orange light. My costume was rounded out by a tiny hat/headband and a pair of tights featuring black cats.
Where I lacked in apparel, I made up for with my storytelling. For the second year in a row, I told a scary story to the students in English. This is actually more difficult than it sounds considering the varying levels of English.
I went with The Hairy Toe. Remember that one? It’s about an old woman who finds a hairy toe in the woods, takes it home, makes a soup and eats it. Turns out, the hairy toe belongs to a giant troll who comes to her house in the middle of the night looking for it. And..well, I won’t spoil the ending.
I tried to make the story as easy to understand as possible by putting together a Prezi with pictures. It seemed to work. The students were appropriately grossed out when I told them the woman made hairy toe soup. Everyone chanted “HAIRY TOE! HAIRY TOE! I WANT MY HAIRY TOE!” when the troll came knocking. Halloween storytelling was a success.
Celebrating Halloween with Friends
On actual Halloween, I went out (dressed in the same witch costume) with friends. There was a Halloween party at my new favorite club: Space Monkey. As with the students, the costumes of my fellow clubbers were overwhelmingly scary. Lots of zombies and people with their faces painted like skulls. The women weren’t dressed particularly sexy as is the norm among people my age in the U.S.
Due to a national holiday on Tuesday, no one in Spain had work the next day, so Space Monkey was packed all night long. Dancing until 5 a.m. made this Halloween in Spain one of my favorite Halloweens of all time.
Where and how did you celebrate Halloween? If you wore a costume, leave me a comment telling me what you dressed up as!