Avalon~Langcon Halloween Party
The Monday and Tuesday before Halloween, our hagwon had its Halloween party. Not sure why we didn’t have it on the 31st, but it was still a lot of fun for the kiddos. The entire staff dressed up. Luke was an apple with a pen, I was a pineapple with a pen, and together we were “Pen Pineapple Apple Pen” which is a very popular and silly song in Korea. Check out the video to get a good understanding.
The students loved it and I’m sure we sang the song at least fifty times each day. We are now known as Pineapple Teacher and Apple Teacher. 😄
We arrived early on Monday to help set up. Eventually, it was time to meet the kids outside as they piled out of their buses. I was surprised to see so many of the students actually dressed in costume! It was adorable. The first day was a complete mess. There were a hundred and something kids with and a lot of confusion as to what was going to happen. They started in a big room where they all drew a face on an orange…similar to doing jack-o-lanterns, but I guess when you have that many young kids and only so much time, you go with an orange instead of a pumpkin. Ha! Gradually, they all migrated to their various activity rooms—each led by a native teacher.
There was a room where the teacher would put a few stickers on each kid’s face, and they would have to get it off without using their hands. Kids got creative, but this lead to numerous stickers having to be scraped off the floor or desks at the end of the day. There was a room made into a “maze” or “laser” room made from yarn in which the students had to go into the room filled with strings of yarn taped from one wall to another and grab a specific card with a word on it without touching any of the “lasers”. There was a room where the students had to wear a party hat on the front of their face and try to read the words through the small hole at the other end. There was a room with a baby pool filled with magnetic bats. Each bat had a letter on it and each student had a magnetic fishing pole. The goal was to spell out certain words with the bats you were able to fish out. This was Apple Teacher’s room, which apparently went pretty smoothly for him!
And finally, there was the best room…The Spooky Mystery Box Room. For this activity, the room was setup with three boxes - each box containing one mystery item in it. As the kids came into the room, I wasn’t exactly sure how to get them all to guess the item without giving it away to the next kid. I very quickly got rid of two boxes and filled the last one with various items I could find around the school - oddly shaped USBs, fake spiders and rats, and other miscellaneous items. With each group of students, I got better about making my room more exciting. I turned off the lights, told them the rules, and to roll up their sleeves because there might be some slimy or crawly things in the box. Some of the kids were a bit uneasy about that and asked if they had to do it, and others actually let out a good scream at some point! I felt very accomplished!
Throughout the day, each class got a picture or two in our “Photo Zone” that we made with a Halloween backdrop and a Polaroid camera. The kids seemed to have a lot of fun and I’m sure it was a nice break from the buttloads of schoolwork they do every day!
The weekend before Halloween was when we celebrated out and about in Itaewon, Seoul. Itaewon is known to be the most foreigner-friendly district and always has a great and crowded night life. We went to Itaewon last year for Halloween with a big group and had a blast so we were looking forward to going back again this year. One of the things we love about it, is that it gets so crowded and music is playing everywhere so we don’t even have to go into any bars. It’s kind of like a parade of costumes. A super packed parade where everyone just walks down the streets dancing, drinking, and taking pictures. Have I mentioned Korea’s public drinking laws? You can get a flavored soju (because the regular stuff isn’t great by itself) for about one dollar. One bottle of flavored soju is about 13% abv so it’s a very cheap night of drinking.
Luke and I dressed in our same Pen Pineapple Apple Pen costumes again and the crowd loved it! Everyone was obsessed with how fat Luke was and of course, like our students, wanted to punch and poke his pillow-stuffed apple shirt. As for my costume, I really just threw on a golden yellow dress and let the DIY headband do the work. I don’t speak Korean but the word “pineapple” is the same in both languages so I would hear it just walking down the streets as people pointed at my “topper” and said pineapple. It was great watching them put two and two together seeing that I was with Luke and then quickly yell some version of “Pen Pineapple Apple Pen!” or “P-P-A-P!”
We had a blast dancing and seeing more costumes in Korea. Only in the last five years or so has Halloween become more popular and celebrated. Kids don’t trick or treat, but might dress up at school. And Itaewon is really the main place that celebrates it seeing as it’s the biggest foreign-friendly district. I’m curious to learn how much more the holiday has grown in Korea in the next five years.