I have such fond memories of Halloween in America. It started with all the different Halloween activities in school. Counting pumpkins in math class. History of the Salem Witch trials. Reading “horror” poems. And all the art and craft projects you could imagine.Then came carving the pumpkin with Dad. For so many years I would draw a face on the pumpkin and he would cut it out. Then finally I was mature enough to cut my own pumpkin. I can clearly remember the smell of a candle burning inside a freshly scooped out gourd. Then the best part! Trick-or-treating through a crowded neighborhood. All the other kids dressed up holding the hands of their proud parents. Knocking on doors to find crabby old ladies or a house full of younger adults partying away.
As I grew older, I still got dressed up and made a tradition of making orange and black cupcakes for my classmates, and later colleagues. My birthday is only the week before and I always requested a Halloween cake. I am literally wearing Halloween socks at this very moment as I write this. I adore this holiday.
However, it is just not celebrated here in Russia. Sure, the adults get dressed up and go out to clubs. Almost all the nightclubs have a themed Halloween party. But it’s not a popular kids holiday. Russians don’t generally teach their children horror stories. They don’t talk of ghosts, witches or zombies. And apparently they don’t like it when foreigners do either (first hand knowledge). I’ve never questioned it before, but yes, it does seem odd to expose our children to such macabre themes. I believe it desensitizes a child to scary things, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. However, that’s not for me to decide as a teacher.
This holiday comes and goes without so much as an acknowledgment from me. For now. When my son gets a bit older, he’ll have the coolest costumes and know the scariest of stories. And know the joy and misery of a belly full of candy.