This term I've had the pleasure of the company of two friends from America, Stefanie and Nissa. They taught in the city of Yangzhou last year and this year decided to come to this university to work on my recommendation. This has led to a lot more American-style fun lately, including a colorful Halloween last Wednesday.
As I mentioned a year ago, celebrating Halloween in China can be pretty memorable. Christmas has become popular in China (some stores and bars even have Christmas decorations year-round) but Halloween is still barely known in these parts. Not being within a thousand miles of a good Halloween costume store, we first had to make our own costumes, which involved a long, long weeknight on October 30th making a cardboard box into a witch's hat. We had earlier also done some pumpkin carving with Chinese characteristics; small, green Jack-o-lanterns fashioned out of souvenir Xinjiang knives.
At night we held a Halloween party for students, with decorations, the Monster Mash, apple bobbing, toilet paper mummies, a raffle and a cake walk. With 35 freshman practically bouncing off the walls with excitement in my apartment ("do you want to play a game?" "YEEESS!!!!") I was feeling a little claustrophobic, but the students had a great time and it all went pretty smoothly. Afterwards we went to see our friends at our favorite bar, China Fire, and shower them with candy.
However, my favorite part of the day may have been in the afternoon after we first dressed up. We each went to class in costume, which was cause for plenty of excitement and camera phone pictures with students. We also had some shopping to do, leading to the priceless reactions of locals to the sight of a witch (Nissa), vampire (Stefanie), and devil (me) getting money from the ATM....