Elementary Education: On Halloween and “Local” Love

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Halloween is taken very seriously in Chicago. I suspect this is because we all know that it’s our last chance to take to the streets in revelry before we are all caught in snowy weather for the next five months. If Halloween is your favorite holiday, then you would be very happy in Chicago come October. Because quite seriously, people celebrate this holiday for the entire month.

Because our class attended the Illinois Writers Project on an off-class night, we were given one night off from class. It was immediately decided that this night would be Halloween. I have to admit that the thought of having class on Halloween had been a bit upsetting to me. Imagining missing all of the completely over the top costumes that appear late night on the El was a sad prospect. I was so excited by this night off that I immediately invited my dearest friend to come to town for Halloween weekend, getting to another of my favorite parts of Chicago: all the friends who come to visit. When I lived in Ohio I had very few guests, but in Chicago? You better believe our couch is regularly open for a weekend stay. It’s an essential component of Chicago living.

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It’s also delightfully fun to be able to show off my city to friends. I take it very seriously. We started our weekend with a visit to Redmoon Theater for their free Halloween party in their warehouse space. It was decked out with odd machines spinning about the room (for real, they are serious about engineering oddities) and garish costumed miscreants inviting everyone to dance. Dressed as Bob and Doug McKenzie, my husband and I attempted to fit the part of a couple of rednecks immersed in Chicago culture at it’s finest.

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I was also able to show my friend around my favorite neighborhood, North Center! I took her to all our local shops and introduced her to the store owners. She was a bit taken aback by how well everyone in the neighborhood seemed to know each other. I’m not sure if that’s a Chicago thing or a North Center thing, but I’m pretty proud of it. It was neat to take her into Delicious Cafe and have the barista immediately start up a conversation with us. Same thing goes for Transistor Chicago. Our neighbors our friendly, involved, active in the community. I get the same feeling on Columbia’s campus, coincidentally!

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All in all it was an excellent Halloween weekend. I have a lot of projects due this week, so I have to admit that even with this holiday I’m feeling psyched to get back into the classroom. It’s a nice feeling to be excited about what I’m doing inside the classroom and out!