Sunday, November 2, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Halloween is a big holiday for English academies in Korea. The kids dress up for their class at the hagwons to which they go. We had a party during one of the class periods that the kids come in for. The Tuesday/Thursday kids are with us for three classes a day and the Monday/Wednesday/Friday kids are with us for two classes. There was a costume contest and a short movie for them. Then they went around to different classes for activities. Each teacher gave the kids candy, but it was not the kind of candy that kids would usually get at Halloween. In the US, you can buy Snickers, Twix, Milky Way, Crunch, KitKat, etc. at prices cheaper than what they usually sell for and there is lots of candy in the stores. That is not true here. Of the candy that I just mentioned, I have seen only Snickers and Twix. Any kind of chocolate candy is expensive here because it has to be imported. A 3.5 ounce Hershey's bar costs 2,000 won. Recently, one could buy an eight ounce bar for a little less than 2,000 won. The candy that the kids got was all hard candy. There was quite a bit of mint candy. I don't remember ever getting mint candy for Halloween. When some of the kids came around and said Trick or Treat, I gave them an eraser and told them that it was a trick. Then they told me that they wanted a treat instead. The stores sold a little bit of Halloween items, but not like stores in the US. All of the costumes were kids' costumes.

For this Halloween, I even got in on some pumpkin carving. There was a pumpkin sitting on the counter and our (now) former branch manager asked me if I knew how to carve pumpkins. I told him I did and he said he didn't so I had to help carve the pumpkin. The pumpkins was not like the ones that people normally carve in America. This one was very flat. It was a light orange and it did not have much of a stem to it. This pumpkin was one of the pumpkins that one can buy at the store throughout the year. It was a very thick pumpkin; there was no danger of scraping it so much that a hole would be scraped through. It was so flat, that after we carved a nose and two eyes in it, there was not enough room for a mouth. We had a candle that was about 3 inches tall, but it was too tall for this pumpkin. After we put it in the pumpkin, it was sticking out through the hole in the top. So then our office manager had to cut the candle in half so that it would be short enough to glow inside the pumpkin. Some of the kids thought that the carved pumpkin was pretty neat.

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