One's destination is never a place but a new way of seeing things. -Henry Miller

A Chestnut Halloween!

So if we knew each other at all during college, you know that I love to be busy! Only working 12 hours a week is relaxing, but I was ready for a little more responsibility. I offered to plan a lesson on Halloween, and while the preparation was minimal, I didn’t realize that I’d be giving this lesson 17 different times. And no, that number is not hyperbole, actually 17 different times. I am only in each class for 30 minute intervals (its difficult to plan a lesson for such sort time!) and I am in 3 classes per grade (grades 1-5) and two pre-school classes. Anyway, I’m sort of sick of talking about Halloween, but I’ll suck it up for the function of this blog post.

Halloween is one of those things where I never appreciated it until I realized it’s not celebrated everywhere. It’s an awesome holiday. I wish I could capture all of the “oohs” and “awws” that were received when I showed pictures of jack-o-lanterns, me in a costume as a child, and a pumpkin patch to my classes.  Part of my lesson included the students saying “trick or treat” and receiving a piece of candy. This part was kind of a fail. First, the headmaster said we weren’t allowed to give out sweets (and they don’t really have candy here like we do), so instead we gave out….chestnuts.

"Chestnuts roasting on an open fire..." I thought that was Christmas!

Chestnuts are delicious, but I only recently found this out upon moving to Granada. There are people who roast chestnuts in the streets and you can buy them for a couple of Euros.  We don’t really have chestnuts in America (I’m currently under the impression that they are extinct?), but they are a big fall treat here. It it a fitting snack for the kids, but they do require a lot of hard work to break the shell and peel (especially difficult with 5 or 6 year olds).

Another reason why this was a slight fail was because “trick or treat” doesn’t translate well. Many of them thought it was a question. I had the following conversation several times:

Me: You say, “Trick or treat!” and I’ll give you a chestnut.

Child: Treat!

Me: No, all of it.

Child: Trick?

Me: No, say the whole thing.

Child: Treat.

Me: No, you say, “Trick or Treat”

(child stares)

(finally I get frustrated and give them the chestnuts anyway or some other child steps in and explains what to do in Spanish).

I feel like I earned some serious brownie points with my kids. They now associate me with free chestnuts and glowing pumpkins! One class made me this beautiful Halloween banner that said “Annie you are fantastic” and did this adorable Spanish dance and one student wrote me a poem about Halloween in English! Children are so precious.

As for Halloween outside the classroom…

Many university students here celebrate Halloween, but I don’t believe that any children go door to door. A lot of people were dressed up last night, but everyone was some version of a zombie. A zombie bullfighter…a dead monk…etc. I don’t think that they understand that 90% of our costumes are living, and usually, an excuse for girls to wear little clothing.  Differences aside, I have still enjoyed this Halloween. The only thing that could make it better would be a pumpkin spice latte.

Besos y abrazos xo



One response

  1. yeah chestnuts are big here too, but I haven’t tried them yet. And I felt the SAME WAY about pumpkin spice lattes when I was abroad. I haven’t checked to see if they have them here in Switzerland, but if they do they probably cost twice as much as they do at home. Literally.

    November 1, 2010 at 3:11 pm

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