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  • Halloween is a holiday with a life all its own. Although the candy manufacturers, pumpkin growers and the advocates for black and orange have no doubt contributed their advertising euros and dollars, kids have been converted to the Halloween hype across geographical, political and cultural borders.

    In some ways, Halloween at school is a principal’s nightmare. At our community Halloween celebration the hallway outside my office in the lower school was commandeered for a haunted house but that was nothing compared to walking into the main hallway on Halloween day and seeing the space occupied with a crowd that looked like a library shelf had tipped and the characters, occupations and topics spilled into life. From a horde of Harry Potters to a flutter of fairy princesses, from stomachs and brains to detectives and explorers, we had them all. It was Occupy your local international school with a curriculum twist.

    Teachers put on (or take off) their masks and mutter about academic time and how are they expected to reach their benchmarks but for kids the Halloween parade it is a chance to strut out to a storm of camera flashes in a new persona. It is a chance to dream themselves anew and see how the world looks through different eyes. Many cultures celebrate masks and the flash of magic that happens when a mask is worn. Maybe it’s only Halloween but a chance to dream is something no curriculum can afford to be without.
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