Students in Allyssa Hooper’s Kindergarten class in Toyokoro show the pumpkin crafts they made for Halloween. The students were also introduced to the custom of going door to door and asking for treats on Halloween night.

Halloween a new concept in Japan

Over the past month I had the opportunity to celebrate and teach my students in Toyokoro about Halloween.

Over the past month I had the opportunity to celebrate and teach my students in Toyokoro about Halloween.

Halloween has only recently been introduced into the Japanese culture and is therefore not celebrated to the same extent as it is in Western cultures.

For example, Halloween decorations and traditional costumes are sold in department stores throughout Japan, but children do not dress up on Halloween night and go trick-or-treating.

Throughout the month of October I celebrated Halloween with all of my students.

We made many Halloween crafts, I dressed up as Olaf from Frozen, and I explained to them what children do for Halloween in Canada and America.

The teachers and students were shocked to hear that children dress up and go door to door asking for candy.

Many of the teachers said that they think it is way too dangerous to go walking at night and knocking on the doors of strangers’ houses just to get some free candy.

I had to try to explain to them that it’s really not as scary and dangerous as it sounds, but I don’t think they believed me.

On Halloween day, I was teaching at the Junior High School and I was expecting some of the students to possibly be wearing costumes or to see decorations throughout the school, but there was nothing; it appeared to be just an ordinary day.

I think that the Japanese people are fascinated by Western culture and the idea of Halloween, but they have not quite figured out how to appropriately incorporate it into their culture and lifestyle yet.

Regardless, I had a lot of fun dressing up as Olaf and making pumpkin crafts with my students throughout the month.

Now the stores are starting to fill with Christmas decorations, and I am looking forward to teaching and celebrating Christmas with all my students in December.

Allyssa Hooper is in Summerland’s sister city of Toyokoro, Japan as the assistant English teacher.