5 Minutes Prep - 2 Hour Interactive Lesson!
I’ve heard some teachers say that their students were not interested in participating in Halloween. Many others feel that malls are safer locations for children to go trick or treating these days. Here’s a true story of an adult ESL student of mine from Taiwan and her first Halloween here, to illustrate my view that the neighbourhood tradition of trick or treating is a worthwhile one we should teach students about.
Mei had been here for almost a year and was feeling depressed. When she lived in Taiwan, she knew all her neighbours, their children, their elderly parents….it felt like a community. By comparison, she felt so isolated here. She had never spoken to her neighbours and no one had come to welcome her to the street. People here seemed unfriendly.
She heard about Halloween in her adult ESL class for immigrants and felt she should buy a bag of candy to give out in case any children arrived. She had been told that when she ran out of candy, she should just turn off her lights.
On Halloween, Mei was delighted by the children in their costumes, all singing out “trick or treat!” and thanking her politely. Many were accompanied by parents. Many parents introduced themselves and shook her hand. They pointed in the direction of their houses and asked where she was from. The neighbours seemed friendly after all! Mei decided she loved Halloween! But soon, she ran out of candy. What could she do? She didn’t want the evening to end!
Mei quickly rushed into the kitchen to find some treats to give to the children at her door, but all she could find was a large box filled with packages of instant noodles. Would the children even accept noodles?! Mei had no idea. She ran back to the door and asked the children if they would like some noodles. “Yes, please!” came the cheerful reply. So, Mei gave out packages of instant noodles for the next hour. All the children seemed happy to receive them and Mei had the best evening since immigrating here, finally feeling as if her new country could become home. Often in our busy modern world, people need a reason to talk to strangers. Halloween provides a great opportunity for neighbours to meet and build a sense of community.
Here below is some free clipart from Callan’s Holiday Jigsaws, which you are welcome to copy and use in your classroom. The drawings are by artist Joseph Laquerre.
If you are teaching literacy, adult basic ed, or a very low level one ESL class, your best resource is Callan's Canadian Holidays for Low Beginner ESL. Check it out here.