home   2007 Jack o' Lantern Carving Party

On October 28th we held the 2007 Mark's English School Halloween Party.  We had ...  82 children attend and 60 adults!  This was the biggest party so far.  We had about 15 people from the new Tomi School.  It was great to have them and get students from both schools to meet each other.  All of the students came in costumes and it was a great time.  With 82 children, it's hard to get everyone together all at once so, quite a few people didn't make it into this group picture. :)

This year's party theme was spiders.  Since 2005 I've had a Halloween photo spot at the party and I always give the spot a little theme.  The 2005 was a pumpkin patch.  The 2006 party was a graveyard.  This year we had a few photo spots with spiders and giant spider webs.

My wife and I made two 5.0m long spider webs. We put one in the main hall and one outside.  I was really worried because we weren't sure if we could get the spider webs up, but luckily they both made it up.  We had 8 giant spiders that hung on the walls or around the webs.  I made 4 more window covers this year as well.  You can see those in the first picture above.

The party guests started arriving and I tried to take as many pictures as I could, but I had to get the business of running a party.  I wish I had gotten a picture of everyone but here are a few pictures of the guests with one of the giant spider webs. 

After a short reception we started the party with the first game, The Maze Race.

The first game was a group game but we played in three big groups.  The first group was elementary school students.  I gave each person a small Halloween puzzle game.  It had four balls and four holes.  The kids held the puzzle up high over their heads and shook them.  When I said "Go!" the players tried to get all 4 balls in the 4 holes.  The first four people to successfully get the balls in the holes won a special prize, but everyone got to take home their puzzle.  So, everyone was a winner!

The second round of the Maze Race was adults.  (They didn't get to keep the puzzles.  Sorry!)  And, the last group was the kindergarten children and lower.  I was worried that they might not be able to do it, but we had some winners pretty quickly.  Again, everyone got to keep their puzzles and some groups played again on their own.  I assumed that meant it was a fun and successful game :)

Next, we reset and played the traditional Halloween game, Bobbing for Apples.  We had buckets filled with water and apples bobbing up and down.  A big thanks to a local farmer, Hosagoya Apple Orchard, that donated 150 apples for the kids.  And adults!  Players have to get the apples from the water but they can't use their hands.  They have to put their face in the water and bite the apples.  Here are quite a few pictures.

We had quite a few adults try this year.  It was much harder than they thought.  A few gave up and their kids plopped down and won their parents and apple.

After Bobbing for Apples, we began the Halloween Carnival!  There were 6 stations with different games and activities.  We always have Halloween Bingo, Face Painting and the Jack o' Lantern factory.  Beyond that, I always try to have new games and this year we had three new games.

Here are a few random pictures from the event.  They show off a few more guests and their costumes.

This year's premiere game was The Spider Web Challenge.  Mark's spiders had taken all of the Halloween bracelets.  Children had to crawl through the spider web and get a prize (an orange and black friendship bracelet) and then crawl back out.  Only, there were 5 little black widows on the web!

If children shook the web too much and knocked off one of the black widows, they lost and had to return the prize.  We had a lot of winners but we did have some black widow victims.

@The second game was 'Spider Art.'  Children in groups had to draw a spider.  We handed out dice to everyone and they rolled the dice.  Each number corresponded to a body part.  The first few people to finish got to pull a thread of spider web and the end was attached to a special prize!

 1.body  2.head  3.eye  4.fang  5.leg  6.leg

In class, we teach students Halloween vocabulary and at the party we play Halloween Bingo in English.  The prizes this year were Halloween pencils or really cool toy spiders.

We had two different throwing games this year, The Spider and Jack o' Lantern Toss, plus Stop the Zombie Pumpkins!  In the first, students threw bean bag spiders into the spider webs to get a prize or threw Jack o' Lanterns into the pumpkins to get a prize.  The prizes this year were parachute jack o' lantern men or flutes.

For Stop the Zombie Pumpkins children got three balls and had to knock down two to three canisters with zombie pumpkins on them!  Thanks ZombiePumpkins.com for the zombie pumpkin stickers! 

People that successfully stopped the zombie pumpkins got a prize.

At the Pumpkin Factory, people could make their own Jack o' Lantern to decorate their house or room.  I explained a little about Jack o' Lanterns and why we make them for Halloween.  We had orange construction paper, markers, pumpkin stencils and scissors.  They could make any kind of Jack o' Lantern they'd like; cute, scary, handsome ...  People made some excellent Jack o' Lanterns!

There was also a section at the end of the table where guests could add to their costumes.  We had 2 sets of face painting pencils.  Quite a few people had a good time decorating themselves.  Sorry, but i didn't get any pictures of that.

After the Halloween carnival, we had a little break.  My wife made 500+ cookies, 130 eyeballs, and 130 chocolate spiders

We also had popcorn and candy corn to munch on.

While everyone was enjoying a little snack, we announce the winners of the costume contest.  And here they are! 

 

Best costume went to Yuichiro for his Jack Sparrow costume.  Second place went to Junya, the cowboy.  Nobuhiro took the adult prize.  Takuma and his mother got the pair prize and Oguchi got the prize for cutest costume.

Everyone's costume was absolutely wonderful and it was really hard to decide.  We spend a bit of time getting this party ready but seeing everyone in costume and enjoying Halloween makes it a great party!

To end the party we had trick-or-treat. Children line up and go around saying, "Trick ot treat!"  Then they got a little treat.

The party was a big success and I have a few people to thank.

Thanks to:

All the guests who came in costume and smiles.  It made my Halloween wonderful.

My wife, Tomoko, who made spider webs with me, costumes, and close to a thousand treats!

Eri, Dennis, and Yoshinori who helped me decorate the hall and run the party (not to mention helped clean up.)

My children who helped make some treats and let us work on all the party details for a couple months.

Machiko, Daichi, Shinya, Jeff, and Grant who helped us run the party.

Hosogoya Apple Orchard and Hanaoka Sweet Shop for donating apples and treats for the party guests.

I hope you all enjoyed the Halloween party as much as I did.

Happy Halloween!

- Mark

@

This year's theme was 'spiders.'  I was a Spider Lord and my wife was a Spider Mistress.  Our children were our pets, two black cats and a bat.  We had a great time with the costumes and here are a few extra pictures of us all dressed up at home.