Written by I Jou Chen, I Hsuan Tsai
Translated by H.B. Qin
Edited by Ida Eva Zielinska
Before Halloween in 2021, Tzu Chi school students in California took the lead in celebrating this fun holiday with their parents and teachers. On October 29, Tzu Chi Elementary School and the Great Love Preschools in Walnut and Monrovia held a joint Halloween celebration in the colorfully decorated parking lot of the Tzu Chi Education Campus in Walnut.
Of course, fancy costumes for Halloween are a traditional and essential part of celebrations. On this day, many mini versions of “princess,” “superhero,” and even “astronaut” and “Monkey King” appeared on campus and, guided by teachers, happily emerged from their classrooms to dance to the music on the playground.
Next came the grand Halloween parade around the playground. The teachers and parents were not to be outdone and dressed up too. As the Tzu Chi Education Foundation advocated, every costume was made from existing materials at home, making them both eco-friendly and economical while creatively exquisite.
Describing elementary school student Lily Chou’s costume, her father shared, “We don’t want to use too fancy costumes or spend money on disposable clothes, so we thought of using existing things. The materials were already at home. I found it more useful and it reduces waste.”
This gathering was the first Halloween celebration organized by Tzu Chi USA since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. More than 400 people attended the event, and the atmosphere was cheerful. However, the Tzu Chi Education Campus staff and volunteers were not sloppy in protecting students’ health. Parents went through temperature-taking procedures, wore a mask, and provided proof of vaccination to enter the Campus so that everyone could enjoy the festive atmosphere of the day with confidence.
What children look forward to most on Halloween is “trick or treat,” and so, of course, their teachers didn’t let them down. Every parent who participated in the event was creative and arranged their car trunks to attract the children’s attention and encourage them to walk around the school parking lot with curiosity. The parents exhibited elements representing popular themes enticing the kids to explore different worlds and then happily receive candies.
“The theme we did is Jurassic Park. I’m a dinosaur. Here is the entrance of Jurassic Park … designed by my family and me,” one parent, Stanley Ho, explained, adding, “we painted the outside of the box. I cut some leaves from paper. These are toilet paper boxes. All these are recycled materials.”
Jennifer, another parent, was eager to raise the children’s awareness about protecting the oceans. “We used paper scraps to make these fish and plastic bags and old decorations. We want to let the children know that the sea needs to be protected, so we must recycle,” she shared.
For parents and teachers, other than giving students a happy holiday experience, providing environmental protection education was also essential. They nurtured the children’s awareness of pressing global issues concerning nature and protecting Mother Earth. In addition, the Tzu Chi Education Foundation also raised funds from parents for Tzu Chi’s upcoming charity concert. So while everyone was enjoying the fun, they kept those facing difficult circumstances in mind and donated so they may receive assistance in their time of need.
Tzu Chi’s Buddhist philosophy is mindful of the impermanent nature of life and how things can change unexpectedly. Thus, we aim to be there when disaster strikes or hard times appear, bringing relief and emotional support. Through your generosity and love, we can uphold our many missions. Let’s join hands to provide help where needed so that no one feels left behind.