My first Halloween in Korea was back in 2005.  I was living and teaching on Ganghwa Island, and was one of just 6 foreign English teachers on the whole island.  My home middle school (I taught at 3, and lived next to one of them) was in a two-street village next to a mountain–needless to say the kids and teachers had never been exposed to anything resembling a western cultural Halloween event so I decided to do a culture lesson and decorate my English classroom.

I spent my own money on the decorations because the middle school was small (98 students) and they didn’t have any kind of budget (especially after spending 40,000 on building a new English Zone).  I went to Walmart in Incheon (back in the day when Walmart was still in Korea) and picked up supplies and some decorations.

The kids really liked the Count Dracula I found at Walmart.

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Pumpkins are insanely expensive in Korea (when compared to prices back in Canada) but many of my students came from farming families and they brought in pumpkins that their parents donated.  I quickly learned that Korean pumpkins have unbelievably thick and HARD skin.  I think I destroyed two large knives while carving these pumpkins; I also had to use a heavy handled butter knife as a substitute hammer to drive the blade through the skin of the pumpkin while carving–it’s that thick!

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I picked up some cheap plastic Halloween props and taped them onto the walls.

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I also bought a spider web, and then made construction paper spiders and taped them on the walls near the web.

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While I’m no arts and crafts expert I think my spiders turned out pretty well considering I wasn’t using a stencil.

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The best thing I found at Walmart was this glow in the dark skeleton–the students really got excited when they saw it.

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As for the Halloween culture lesson itself I put together a 15-20 minute power point with pictures of the following vocabulary: werewolf, Frankenstein, skeleton, witch, ghost, black cat, spider web, spider, graveyard/cemetery, vampire, Dracula, scarecrow, pumpkin, and jack-o-lantern.  I found pics of world competition level pumpkins from pumpkin growing competitions in Canada and the USA and the kids totally freak out when they see the pumpkins back in North America–especially compared to the typical pumpkins in Korea, lol.


Winning Pumpkin

I also have a series of slides that describe the 6 steps you do when carving a pumpkin and making it into a jack-o-lantern, and pics of how to ‘bob for apples.’  Also, I have a 6 step breakdown of Halloween night and describe the typical process involved in going ‘trick-or-treating.’ At the end of the power point I throw in some pictures of Halloween costumes in New York City, and then we do a review of the vocabulary.

This year at the all boys high school we’re going to do what I just described and then do a craft activity where the boys will draw, cut, and color different Halloween vocabulary and cultural objects.  They will then write the vocabulary names on their object and we’ll put them up all over the classroom, and then out in the hallway after we take up all the wall space in the classroom.

Julianne and I spent last Friday night decorating one of the two classrooms I use at my boys high school.  We’re still not done, but here are some previews . . . oh yeah, I managed to get funds from the school to buy colored paper, glue, and other supplies so it was nice to not have to spend my own money–but I still would have done that if I hadn’t gotten funds.  It’s worth it to see how much the students like the decorations.


I bought rolls of yarn and tied them to the four fans on the ceiling to create a spider web . . .


Visualizing what the Halloween tree will look like before we began cutting . . .


This classroom is pretty big, and I like that the tables/desks can be moved around.


Spider web done . . . now all we have to do is make the spiders.  Oh yeah, I bought fishing line to hang them with so they look more realistic.


Julianne and I are going to add grave stones, grass, a moon with clouds, and a few other things to complete the scene we’re creating on the closet wall here.


I got the idea to make the branches of the tree end with hands and long sharp fingers–I think it looks pretty creepy and hope the boys like it.


While we were putting up the haunted house I got the idea to make it look like it’s a face too.  We still have to add window frames to the two yellow squares, and a few other details too.


Did I mention that I think the spider web rocks?!!! I can’t wait to see what it looks like with the spiders hanging from the fans and parts of the web.


On Monday the students will be making jack-o-lanters, bats, spiders, witches, and more from colored paper and then we’re going to put that stuff up on the walls–expect a follow up post with pictures to come on Tuesday or Wednesday.


And on that note–it’s lunch time.