Written by: I Hsuan Tsai
Translated by: H.B. Qin
Edited by: Andrea Barkley
“Trick-or-treating” is an American tradition and one of the most anticipated annual holidays for the students and teachers of Tzu Chi Elementary School and Preschools. But “tricks” in the schools created joy in alignment with Tzu Chi USA/s spirit of environmental protection.
On October 28, 2022, the special “Environmental Protection Halloween Event” was held at Tzu Chi Elementary School, Great Love Preschool Walnut, and Great Love Preschool Monrovia. The students, teachers, and parents participated in a fun and warm event.
Preschool student Kaisi Chen made a dinosaur of recycled coffee-colored cardboard boxes, colored and assembled them. The project was a collaboration between the student and the parents, which was much fun. Yanqi Chen’s father said, “The most enjoyable process is the family participation, and finish this together, a cute dinosaur. It’s excellent that the school organized this activity, letting children know that these resources can be recycled and reused.”
In addition to creating Halloween-inspired environmental protection costumes, there was an outdoor car trunk decoration activity. It was time for parents to show their creativity by turning the “Love Vehicle” that usually drives their children to and from school into a “Surprise Vehicle” loaded with sweets. Then, they gave out candies to every child who visited, creating a climax for the Halloween event.
Zhen Fu, a preschool parent, mobilized the whole family to transform the car into a “glittering girly” styled one, the girls’ favorite. The family had a great time dressing up the car. As Zhen Fu said, “My theme is a rainbow unicorn Pegasus. It’s funny how little girls like colorful and shiny things. It was my first time participating in Halloween car decoration activities. My mother also came to the scene to help me. We use simple yet multi-color and fun design this time, not scary, but fun.”
Sarah, a fifth-grade English teacher, wore an eco-friendly costume designed for her by her students. She shared, “My fifth graders wanted to recycle and reuse materials. So they used newspapers to make a costume for their teacher. The students had a fun time making the dress with wings and angel halos, so why buy Halloween costumes when you can make them with materials from home? Let’s take care of the earth.”
In addition to the students, teachers, and parents, the schools invited the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department officers as special guests to the Halloween celebration. They decorated the police car and gave the students a feel for what it’s like to be a police officer. The police officers also prepared candies for the children and a safety manual to remind the children to be careful when asking for candy on the street. Claudia Maldonado, a Los Angeles County police officer, said, “Today we are at Tzu Chi School for the car trunk decoration. So the kids could check out the police cars and get a gift from us.”
Last but not least, teachers and parents prepared a Halloween game, which was both educational and festive, where everyone did a pumpkin volcano experiment at the Life Science Farm. After adding baking soda, water and body wash to the pumpkins, students poured white vinegar into the pumpkins, and live mountain lava spewed out from the pumpkin openings. Students watched in awe. There was no screaming, only laughter.
In addition to teaching children the spirit of environmental protection in making eco-friendly costumes, the most enjoyable part of this Halloween celebration was the family participation in making the stuff together, finding great fun using recycled materials, and cultivating richer creativity in the students.