October 15, 2004
October 15, 2004
With the advent of autumn comes the wonderful progression of seasonal holidays so popular with children in Western countries, the first of which is Halloween. Many of us here in Japan are successfully introducing and integrating Halloween into our cross cultural curriculums by planning parties with activities like dunking for apples, best costume awards, Halloween Bingo, etc. Dressing in a costume and scampering through the neighborhood for goodies is lots of fun, but it cannot be done without support from the community. How does one receive support when the holiday is still unfamiliar to people in Japan?
Dressing in a costume and scampering through the neighborhood for goodies is lots of fun, but it cannot be done without support from the community.
This month I would like to share with you the letter our school writes to our neighbors to inform them about Halloween and ask them for their support during this special holiday. Please feel free to use portions of our letter and make the necessary changes for your own situation. Of course, we send it in Japanese. It is my hope that it will motivate you to take the steps necessary to harness community support and help make Halloween a tradition in Japan.
"Halloween Walk Flyer for Neighbors and Shop Owners"
Autumn greetings. As you probably know, I am enjoying teaching English to children in this wonderful neighborhood. This month, on October 31, all children in America and other Western countries look forward to celebrating Halloween. I would like to create a "Halloween Walk" for my English students as a cultural experience, but I need to ask you for your help, because the community is the "heart" of Halloween.
On Halloween, young children dress up in costumes and, with bags in hand, visit the houses in their neighborhood, knocking at doors, ringing doorbells and asking for a treat. Their greeting is "Trick or treat," which means, "Please give us a treat or we will pull a trick on you!" Of course, all the neighbors have treats all ready for the children, and while handing them some goodies to put in their big bags, the neighbors usually comment on how cute or how scary the children look. The children then say, "Thank you!" and run to the next house. Of course, you can do not have to speak English to the children. Japanese is fine!
Would you be willing to let the children from my school ring your doorbell and ask, "Trick or treat?" If so, I would be happy to schedule you in on our Halloween Walk. Our Halloween Walk will take place _________(date) between ____ and _______. After I receive responses from various people in the neighborhood, I will be able to inform you approximately what time the children will arrive. I will also make arrangements to deliver some treats to you the day of the Halloween Walk so you will have them on hand. If you would like to prepare some on your own, treats usually consist of: gum, candy, cookies, crackers, 1-yen or 5-yen coins, o-sembei, etc.
My goal is to make this day a special one for my students, and I hope that you, the wonderful members of this community, can help to give them this fun experience. I promise it will be fun for you, too!
I am looking forward to establishing a fun holiday for our children which will hopefully turn into precious, warm memories of their youth here in this community.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or suggestions.