On Halloween led my first English club meeting on the topic Halloween and I gave a presentation on the history of Halloween. One of the activities I did was ask for 4 volunteers to be mummies and 4 helpers then gave them toilet paper and told them to wrap themselves up. Meanwhile the rest of the students and I watched Thriller. Once the mummies were ready I replayed Thriller and made the mummies dance to the video and then everyone had to vote on their favorite mummy.
On November 6th I was walking into the dorm after eating dinner when I was spontaneously asked to be on a panel of judges for a haunted house competition. My dorm had 3 floors compete for the title of spookiest floor. It was pretty awesome especially because I thought the Halloween festivities were over.
So far I’ve experienced many surprises in Russia. In my conversational class with my master’s students I had to cut my presentation on Halloween short because some of my students were so disturbed they didn’t want to look me in the eyes while. Then the Orthodox and Jewish community of Russia came out with a joint statement saying Halloween is a holiday for atheists. I thought that might be it for Halloween in Russia until I saw their haunted houses. They had bloody pentagrams written on the walls, zombies, insane asylum workers, witches, and psych ward patients with axes and silverware stabbed into them, ready to chase down any shy looking student. One side wants to almost freak out the other is ready to raise up the anti-christ. They really didn’t hold back))
I asked my students if they could tell me any spooky urban legends about Smolensk. Apparently I live in the most haunted region of Smolensk. My dorm was built on top of an old Polish-catholic cemetery and the small skyscraper, which you can see in “Artsy pictures of Smolensk”, was cursed by a witch. During the Soviet times the crosses on top of the nearby Orthodox church all bent towards the cursed building. Supposed a statistic says that every month someone is murdered or commits suicide in that building. I can sleep more soundly now)