Watermelon Jack-O’-Lanterns: Celebrating Halloween in Potrero

By Christie Vogt

Watermelon jack-o-lanternsWhile Halloween may be a bigger tradition in the United States than in Costa Rica, the kids here have no trouble getting on board with an event that means candy, games, and costumes. On October 31st, AM students had a day off of classes to enjoy a party thrown by our endlessly creative AM volunteers, who were determined to provide an afternoon of spooky fun for the kids (we may have eaten a few Skittles ourselves, too).

As a little bumblebee, princess, or pirate wandered through the big doors of the Potrero salón, they saw an exciting spread of “stations” with different activities to delight in. To the right, a bean bag toss awaited a well-aimed shot through the mouth of a ghost, jack-o-lantern, or bat. Further down the loop, a craft table was set up where students could make their own spiders and webs.

Bean bag toss and craft stationAt the face painting station, cheeks were adorned with pumpkins, witches, bats, or a less-scary butterfly. Wandering along towards the fortune teller’s table, the kids discovered what their futures held. One prediction overheard: “Oooo! I see in my crystal ball that you will learn a lot of English in the next months!”

Face painting and fortune telling

Following the sounds of music and screams, you’d find the musical chairs station where the kids competed for a seat to the sounds of Monster Mash. At the nearby Gross Out (¡Qué asco!) table, you could dip your hands into mystery boxes that were said to contain eyeballs, tongues, tripe, mucus, rat poo, fingers, and toes! Shrieks and laughter ensued as intestines (pasta noodles) twirled around little unsuspecting fingers.

Vinny at Gross Out station and Dilan

If all of that excitement wasn’t enough, there was an all-group limbo line-up towards the end of the festivities. As music played, a steady stream of niños snaked around in a never-ending limbo loop. The older students had to actually work at adjusting their statures, while the tiny ones would comically stroll underneath without breaking a sweat or bending a vertebra.

Doing the limbo and breaking the piñata

Finally, the closing event: cracking open the piñata that dangled temptingly above our heads. As you might expect, it was a crazy free-for-all the moment that treasure chest was broken open. The kids swarmed the candy like those infamous Tico ants that dominate most of our kitchens here.

The dust settled, and the floor was meticulously cleaned of its very last treat. Time for everyone to head home—with paint on their faces and Sweet Tarts and Starbursts in their pockets.  ¡Feliz Halloween!

Bumblebee, Lady Gaga, Scary Guy, Pirate

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