Happy Halloween

Halloween has been one of my favorite holidays for as long as I can remember. I love candy, I am a sucker for corny jokes (What did the fish say when he swam into a wall…DAM!), and it gives me a reason to dress up, which I absolutely love to do. Over the past few years, I’ve tried to get more creative with my group theme and home-made costumes. Two of my favorites include:

Cereal Mascots: Toucan Sam and the rest of the gang
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Kerri Strug & Bela Karoyli – 1996 Olympic Gold Champion

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Coming to Guatemala I knew that Dia de los Muertos was a significant holiday but I wasn’t sure what to expect for Halloween. During our morning announcements this past Monday, our student coordinator shared that the after-school program Pop Wuj helps fund (La Guarderia* – more detail at the bottom) was planning on having a Halloween party – filled with pumpkin pie, decorations and COSTUMES! I couldn’t have been more excited to help and attend this party.

When we arrived at La Guarderia it was a bit overwhelming. Ok, VERY overwhelming. Imagine 30 kids (ages ranging from less than 4 to 13), frantically putting on their costumes, some squirting face paint, some helping hang decorations and the rest of them running around in circles. Crazy. Add the fact that all of them were talking/yelling in Spanish and I was ready to be on birth control for the rest of my life. Things calmed down a bit and a couple of them helped me put on some face paint. I was supposed to be a clown, but I think I ended up looking more like a creepy Harry Potter.

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We had a mini photo shoot of all the costumes and I quickly realized these home-made outfits put mine to shame! Super creative and inexpensive ideas. We had black cats, ghosts, pirates, scarecrows, and two boys that looked like they were trying out for the Jabawakeez. All of the kids looked great (and adorable). The group then gathered into the front room where we had blacked out all the windows and they all told spooky ghost stories (we think….). The kids then had some pumpkin pie and apple crisp which the older kids helped make earlier that day. We all quickly cleaned up and the kids were off, going home with their bellies full. It ended up being a great, albeit tiring, afternoon. I was able to dress up and share my favorite holiday with some very cute kids and I am sure it will be a Halloween that I won’t forget!

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*La Guarderia is basically an after-school program for the students that Pop Wuj (mostly) funds through scholarships. The money for the scholarships comes from either individual donors or the profits the school makes. For more information, please check out Pop Wuj’s website. In Guatemala, public school typically lasts only from 8 or 9 a.m. until about 1 p.m. for younger children, and from 1 p.m. to about 6-7 p.m. for older students. Usually, these groups occupy the same school, which necessitates the split schedule. The idea for this program is to give the kids a place to go while their parents finish work and a place for them to continue their learning with English, Quiche, reading, and other subjects while they wait.

3 thoughts on “Happy Halloween

  1. Mary Daly Baniak

    Anna, what an excellent post! I was wondering how you would be able to celebrate your favorite holiday, and this was an excellent use of your skills. And such cute kids! And I don’t really even like kids!! (except for certain ones, of course)

  2. Julie

    I liked the little lion (I think that’s what it was). Here at Elliott School we had our annual Halloween parade and parties, so my experience was similar to yours, except that the children were gleefully screaming in English!

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