Due to the way that the calendar fell this year, our annual kids party in Hibarigaoka was actually my first taste of anything Halloween-related in 2015. With no new costume for this party or for October 31st itself (assuming I even bother to go out this year!) it’s fair to say that the build-up has pretty much bypassed me thus far.
Starting at 10:30 am, the first group consisted of about 15 young ‘uns and was co-taught as ever with my friend and colleague Lai-Keun. Though there were tears from a couple of the kids at times, this class went fairly smoothly from beginning to end. Nothing too original to start as we did an actions warmer (walk, run, jump, hop etc) and then elicited and drilled the colours including gold, silver and grey which are always in the card packs but often redundant. We scattered a big load of colour tabs around the room and they collected them colour by colour.
It was then time to do some actually Halloween stuff beginning with the lexical nouns being introduced and drilled. Following that were more coloured halloween lexical items, an adjectives of emotion posting in boxes activity, pass the parcel, a team race taking turs to throw little pumpkins into a tin and some competitive bats vs spiders turn over-flip over game.
This years craft activity was to colour in a Halloween picture, cut it out and then stick it onto a folded black plate (with legs and a shoulder strap) doubling up as a spider pouch. Japanese kids love their stickers so we tend to include these in the craft each year and they could decorate their pouch with them.
Some of the costumes worn in this class were great and it was a little difficult deciding which boy, in particular, should win the not-so-prestigious award for best costume. Eventually, we decided on the boy dressed as a minion was a worthy winner.
The cauldron of candy didn’t scare them too much and they just put their hand in and grabbed the sweets without too much care for the hand automtically moving to grab them. We decided to do the group photo session before the finale which as always is hit the piñata. Far easier to do that before the candy is scattered all around the room for them to collect.
The second group was 27 kids divided into two classes of which I had 13 in mine and, unlike last year when it was predominately all boys, this year was a far even mix. I’d hardly had time to work out a plan but small things like that matter not. No messing about this year and I was straight in with a fun activity where the class of two teams raced to feed the giant pumpkin cardboard cut-outs with some little ghost-shaped foam objects using chopsticks.
I recycled the adjectives of emotion stations postbox game from the earlier class and then did all your classic tefl-style activities like hide and reveal, choral drilling, team drilling, high drill and a chain drill which always seems to work well. A quick blast of Yes/No stations was followed by broomstick pumpkin football which was arguably the game that caught the imagination of my group the most.
A competitive egg and spoon race was next using special eye-design ping pong balls and then I put them all into three teams for some more serious (but still fun) activities such as a line drill style Chinese whispers type game.
The craft activity was similar to the first class but a step-up and more tricky as they had to cut out something or another and then stick it onto the spider pouch along with self-adhesive eyes and a nose. They also had to thread the spider legs on too and this took a while as I wasn’t too clear about how it was all done having not seen the demonstration example. Thankfully, school manager Junko and receptionist Yasuko were on hand to assist everyone and is one of the many things they do each year as they work tirelessly throughout Halloween to promote the party, set it up, help out when needed, serve drinks and snacks in the break and then clear up afterwards.
Following the break was the cauldron of candy, prize-giving, hit the piñata, candy grabbing, group photos and we bid farewell to each student with a trick or treat goodie bag.
Time then to take down the decorations, move stuff back into the rooms and re-assemble the tables getting the school back into its regular guise. As ever, it was a tiring day but a good, fun one too and one that is a major part of the year’s teaching calendar.
Click on the years below to see my ‘Spook-tacular Halloween’ blog entry for each one…