Draconian Trick ‘r’ Treaters and Sweet Potato Cakes: Halloween at Aomori Koko

Halloween is hands down one of my favorite holidays. When I was a kid, my mum made my sisters and I extremely elaborate costumes that almost always put the other kids’ get-ups to shame. (Modestly isn’t my strong suit when it comes to my mum’s costumes; sadly, all photographic proof is at home in America. Take me at my word.)

EDIT: My mother hauled at the old family albums and posted some choice flashback pictures. So behold! A few Halloweens throughout the ages.

We stuck to animals when we were younger. My sisters were a bunny and a penguin on that Halloween.

One of my favorite Halloween pictures. How blonde I was!
The reprise of the genie. (And right in the middle of my awkward phase.)

However, Halloween isn’t so big in Japan. People know that it exists, some celebrate it with costume parties, and seasonal candy like pumpkin Kit-Kats (not even joking) is popular in my nearby supermarkets. You’ll never, though, see droves of kids out on Halloween night, trick ‘r’ treating like their lives depended on how much candy they stashed in their pillowcases. And whereas my childhood counterparts and I always looked forward to wearing our costumes to school on Halloween, in uniform-attired Japan, that’s nonexistent.

Imagine my surprise, then, when two of my favorite students dropped by my desk this morning for some impromptu trick ‘r’ treating. The kid on the left (aka the dragon with the witch’s hat) is one of the most intelligent and good-humored students I have, and I’ve seen the kid on the right improve both his English and his enthusiasm for class steadily in the past year. Apparently, though, he couldn’t be convinced to don a costume (he is, after all, a baseball player – one of the ‘cool’ kids), but it provides a good contrast!

A very good start to Halloween morning.

The funny thing is, the dragon tried to give me candy, instead of taking some from the basket on my desk. Clearly, he needs to come to America so our hordes of sugar-fueled kids can show him how it’s properly done.

And one of the things (non-teaching related) that I enjoy most about my job is that the kids tend to give me gifts on holidays. I think that’s because I’m sort of a half-teacher; I don’t discipline them, don’t give them exams, and do my best to entertain them a bit during class. Valentine’s Day is the big day for baked goodies, but Halloween is up there as well.

Behold! Pumpkin and bat sweet potato cakes! Don’t let the vegetable ingredient fool you. These things were awesome.

One of the many perks of my job: baked goods galore.

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