Halloween originated from the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced “SAH-win”). Held around the 1st of November, it marked the transition from autumn to winter. During this time, people believed the boundary between the worlds of living and dead became blurred. Souls of the dead were said to revisit their homes.
Costumes started as a way for people to hide from evil spirits. Children would also visit houses begging for food or money. In exchange, they offered songs and prayers for the dead. Today, Halloween is a popular holiday in the USA and Canada, where children wear costumes and go trick or treating at different houses, asking for candy.
Halloween at Alkor
At Colegio Alkor, our front garden has turned into an ominous graveyard with the undead crawling out of the ground. We also have a haunted house made by students from 3rd and 4th of ESO, for those who are truly looking for a fright. At break time, the teachers hold a food contest, where we feast on brain cakes, candy eyes, and other Halloween-themed snacks. In case you still couldn’t tell, Halloween is one of our biggest festivities here at school.
Pumpkin carving contests
We have pumpkin carving contests, where we are always amazed by how creative students and their families are.
“Break Out” game
Students in both primary and ESO participate in a big “Break Out” game, where they go from one station to another, completing different spooky tasks in order to solve a big puzzle to escape.
We have a scary podcast writing contest for budding word smiths in ESO. Students participate in either Spanish or English, and the best stories are listened to in class.
Costumes: Halloween at Alkor
Finally, Halloween would not be Halloween at Alkor if it weren’t for the costumes. Here are some of the best ones from both students and teachers:
But more than fun and games, at Alkor we always make sure to impart the significant cultural aspects of these holidays with our students. That way they not only have fun, but they also learn about how these festivities are celebrated around the world.
Mythical creatures in the Philippines
In the Philippines, where I’m from, some people definitely dress up and go to parties on the 31st of October. But the main event happens on November 1, when families flock to cemeteries to visit their departed loved ones. This tradition is called Undas. This is a whole day affair that can last until night. Families bring what they need to be comfortable—chairs, mats, food, and coolers with drinks. Some of them even bring tents. They clean their loved ones’ graves, light candles, place fresh flowers on the tombstones. Once this is done, they settle in to eat, drink, and spend time together. It’s like a whole day picnic, only it’s held at the cemetery with your dearly departed.
We also have our own mythical creatures. I shared some of them with my 2nd grade students and can show them to you as well. At seven years old, my students were very young, so I made sure to find the cutest, most harmless possible pictures. But in our actual folklore, these are scary creatures that have figured in our horror movies and the stories we tell our friends late at night during sleepovers. If you’d like to see them in the true, frightening form that Filipinos actually know them as, Google is there for you. What are some of the mythical creatures unique to your country/region?
The root word “tanggal” means to take off in Filipino. During the day, the mananaggal is a beautiful woman. But at night, she severs her upper body from her hips and flies around terrorizing people. To defeat her, you must find her lower body, which she leaves on the ground, and sprinkle it with salt or garlic so that she will not be able to reunite with it.
Nuno sa Punso
The nuno is a dwarf-like spirit who lives under large rocks, trees, or in caves. He does harm to people who damage his territory, so it is important to respect your surroundings and to ask for permission if you have to pass by his home.
The tiyanak pretends to be an innocent, abandoned baby who lures its victims by crying. Once picked up, it reveals its true form and kills its victim by biting. The tiyanak is believed to be a baby who died before it was baptized at church. This character of our folklore reveals how the Philippines is still a predominantly Catholic country.
The tikbalang has the head and hooves of a horse and very long arms and legs. It lives in the forest and causes travelers to get lost and go around in circles. If you ever get lost in the forest and suspect a tikbalang is playing tricks on you, wearing your shirt inside out will help you return to the right path.
Manananggal – Alison Czinkota https://www.pinterest.ph/pin/35536284547564736/
Nuno sa Punso – https://madligaya.com/2018/01/01/punso-sa-likod-bahay/