Halloween, if I am well-informed, started as a pagan holiday in Europe and pre-dates Christianity. The original purpose of Halloween was to scare off bad spirits and ghosts. This holiday is celebrated in quite a few countries around the world and travelled to America with immigrants from Europe. Of course, now it is just fun and games with kids dressing up and going door-to-door collecting candy.
This is my take on Halloween in Poland. It is not a Polish holiday. I have no desire to Halloween-ize Poland. We celebrate Halloween in our family because I want to share a little bit of my American childhood with my children. Some people in Poland like Halloween and have started celebrating it with their children. It is usually a dress-up party without the trick-or-treating part. For adults, bars and restaurants have themed parties starting as much as one week before Halloween. A lot of people are indifferent to the whole thing and some others are against the idea of Halloween in Poland. Maybe it it because of Halloween’s proximity to the holiday of All Saints Day.
My opinion is that these two holidays can live side-by-side. I went to Catholic school in the States and we still had a Halloween party every year at school. OK, Halloween is one day before All Saints Day. So what? That doesn’t make Halloween any less fun nor does it make All Saints Day any less sincere. Please excuse my bluntness but sitting solemnly at home or at graveside does not make your loved ones any less dead and having a dress-up party with kids doesn’t make them any more dead.
Halloween is not the enemy.
First, the positives –
We gave a lovely lesson about Halloween to Lizzie’s Pre-school class. We asked the kids what they knew about Halloween which was quite a lot actually. They even knew how to say “trick or treat” in English. We explained that we celebrate this holiday in our family because it is an American tradition and that I am American. Then Misiu read a book about Corduroy Bear and the best Halloween ever or something like that. The kids were enthralled. At the end of the lesson, we decorated paper plates as little jack-o’-lanterns. The best and most unexpected part for us was that the kids and teachers dressed up just for our lesson. There were a lot of princesses, ghosts, witches, a batman, a pumpkin and only one rock star (our Lizzie).
We also had a Halloween party at home. We decorated and cooked and dressed up and like last year informed the neighbors of our trick-or-treating plans. And just like last year only a few neighbors decided to participate (many people were out of town as well) and those that did participate really rocked. Thank you neighbors!!! The kids had a lot of fun, and I could feel almost like at home. This morning our little sweeties keep checking what they’ve got in their trick-or-treat bags. It is so cute.
Now, the negatives –
All went as planned at our party, but unfortunately some of our friends got sick and couldn’t come to our Halloween party. I got sick too, but that’s beside the point. The show must go on!
Regarding our lesson at school, all went as planned there too, but unfortunately not everyone liked the idea of our Halloween lesson. It wasn’t our idea to teach a lesson at school. Parents were asked by the classroom teachers to volunteer some time this year. Lizzie was thrilled when we decided to come to her class. Now the negative…Despite the fact that our presentation of Halloween at Pre-school was prefaced with the information that we wanted to present something from our culture (I guess I should say my culture), one family decided to remove their child from school for our lesson with the statement that “we do not celebrate such a holiday”. Now, come on. If my kid has to sit under your crucifix all day long, your kid can survive one Halloween arts and crafts project. Jeeezzzzz! Lighten up!
PS1 Kielbasa Stories has some new followers. Welcome janiluap and porcelanowy blog. Thanks for joining us and thanks for reading!
PS2 When you buy a new fridge the week before Halloween, you have a lot of material for making Halloween decorations.