Let's face it, Halloween when teaching English in South Korea is nothing like Halloween back at home in America. Kids don't dress up, there are no trick-or-treaters, nor are there carved pumpkins in front of homes.
In order to bring some of the Western culture to our students, some teachers decided to dress up. I guess it's almost become a tradition and a huge competition at my school, because there was even a prize for having the best costume: an extra hour of pay.
I dressed up two days in a row, one as a basketball player. Halloween is a perfect excuse to wear basketball shorts and a jersey to work. On another day, I dressed up as Waldo and none of my students recognized me. They guessed I was Santa.
The students also got to draw posters for Halloween. The prize was a big bag of candy and I've never seen my students work so diligently on a project.
The contest was held for the whole school and only three winners were chosen, my students being one of them. These girls were so creative and even came up with a 3D poster.
One downside to Halloween this year for the students was that it was held during the week of level up tests. As excited as they were to see their teachers dress up and receive candy, I'm sure the thought of having to take a big test disappointed them a bit.
As far as the Halloween culture for the rest of Korea, it's more popular amongst the younger crowd. Although the Korean youth don't go all out with their costumes, party promoters use the name to advertise for clubs.
If you do swing by Korea around this time of the year, check out Itaewon. This is where you'll see most of the foreigners hang out with their costumes on.
If you are trying to shop for costumes, check out Dongdaemun station exit #4. There are a few stores down a dark alleyway that sells a variety of costumes and party accessories.
Did you dress up this Halloween?
Aeri Park has had a multicultural history taking her from Seoul to Buenos Aires to Atlanta and back again. She graduated Emory University in 2008 and wanted to experience the culture of the place she was born. Aeri arrived in Suwon in 2010 and is now enjoying her second year teaching for Chungdahm in Pyeongchon. So far she has most enjoyed the food, fashion, and never ending list of places to explore. Follow Aeri to see where she goes!