Celebrating Halloween in Morocco

Happy (belated) Halloween! One of my assignments as a Peace Corps Volunteer is to share parts of American culture with my friends and students in Morocco. Therefore, in the spirit of one of America’s silliest and spookiest holidays, we threw an epic Halloween party for the youth of my Dar Chebab last month!

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With the assistance of four other incredible Volunteers, my site-mate and I were able to organize our town’s first Halloween extravaganza (all while dressed in costume, of course). For the first two hours of the event, the youth were invited to partake in a rotation of activities set up in a large theatre room at the Dar Chebab. These activities included face painting, decorating masks, “pin the heart on the skeleton,” fishing for candy, “guess the amount of candies in the jar,” and a Frankenstein and Witch “face-in-hole” photo station.

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Following these activities, we had the youth partake in their very first “donut dangle” competition! We don’t necessarily have “donuts” here in Morocco, but a scrumptious Moroccan delicacy called sfinj made the perfect substitute.

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For the grand finale of the Halloween party we created our very own spooky Haunted House! In order to create a scary path for the youth to walk through, we set up a maze of tables through a classroom in the Dar Chebab that connects to the stage in the theater room via a small staircase. On top of each table we stacked two chairs on top of each other and draped an assortment of sheets and blankets over them to create “walls.”

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To add a bit of lighting to the dark pathways we cut spooky faces out of old boxes and cardboard and put glowsticks or flashlights inside. We also created a tunnel out of tables that the kids then had to crawl through, which turned out to be one of the scariest parts of the Haunted House for most of them!

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Once everything was ready to go, I led groups of 4 kids at a time through the Haunted House. We had creepy music playing and everything was dark. The kids had absolutely no idea what to expect and walked very slowly through the paths, most often holding hands (with their friends or with me). Peace Corps Volunteers were strategically placed at various points throughout the path and proceeded to jump out and scream at the passersby. I had to talk more than a few youths through completing the Haunted House because it was so scary (“Don’t be scared! It’s okay! I promise they won’t scare you anymore if you don’t want! Don’t be scared! It’s almost over!”) and some made me take them out early. There were more than a few tears and some minor damage to the shirt I was wearing as children (both young and teenagers) clutched my arm a little too tightly, but all in all everyone had a fantastic time and begged us to let them go through the Haunted House again!!

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We had nearly 100 youth from my town participate in our Halloween party and I’m already getting questions about when we’re going to do it again — so I’d call that a HUGE success! Thanks to the Peace Corps Volunteers and Moroccan teenagers who helped with this spooktacular event!

(And special thanks to Peace Corps for letting me have the coolest job out there.)

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