In October, alumni across all FLEX countries reported 39 Halloween activities, with many alumni sharing that Halloween was one of their favorite holidays to celebrate in the U.S. Below are examples of Halloween celebrations held in Kazakhstan and Hungary.
Spreading Halloween Smiles
By Kamilya Zulfukharova ’17 (Taraz, Kazakhstan/ Plainwell, MI)
Did you know that Halloween is one of the most popular holidays in the U.S.? On that day, everything is about creative costumes, terrifying decorations, and sweet treats. In Almaty, Kazakhstan, I organized an event inspired by the Halloween celebrations in my host community.
During my exchange year, Halloween was one of my favorite holidays. My host sisters and I dressed up in costumes, went ‘Trick or Treating,’ and had a great time. I miss those fun moments in my life. Because Halloween is not as popular in Kazakhstan as it is in the U.S., I wanted to bring the spirit of this holiday here. Therefore, I decided to host [a Halloween-inspired event] in Almaty. Because it was my first offline FLEX event, Halloween with the FLEX community was exciting for me.
FLEX alumni purchased sweets, decorated them with stickers, and handed them out to over 100 people in downtown Almaty. The stickers displayed the FLEX logo along with the words “Happy Halloween!”
We approached people with sweets to cheer them up, which was different from the traditional concept of Halloween. I liked seeing people’s reactions when they were surprised by receiving a treat and being greeted with a grin.
This project was implemented with the help of Ayaulym Akhilova ’20 (Kyzylorda, Kazakhstan/ West Allis, WI), Nargiz Bitimbai ’20 (Kyzylorda, Kazakhstan/ Palmyra , ME), and Aidana Talgatkyzy ’20 (Almaty, Kazakhstan/ Delphos, KS).
A Spooky Halloween Party
By Reka Zanto ‘20 (Paks, Hungary / Goodyear, AZ)
On October 29, FLEX Alumni Coordinator for Hungary Reka Zanto ’20 (Paks, Hungary/ Goodyear, AZ) organized a Spooky Halloween Party in collaboration with staff of the American Corner in Budapest and with support from Viktoria Papp ‘20 (Debrecen, Hungary/ Reedley, CA), a City Representative from Debrecen; and Boglarka Sandor ‘20 (Dunaharaszti, Hungary/ Seattle, WA), and Diana Rogava ‘19 (Tbilisi, Georgia/ Ankeny, IA), City Representatives from Budapest. Celebrating this holiday was a way to share American traditions and experiences from the U.S., as Hungary has no similar holiday.
Alumni decorated the American Corner in a traditional Halloween style. The event was open for anybody interested in experiencing something that Hungarian people only see in movies and attracted more than 30 people, including FLEX alumni from Hungary and Georgia. Participants of many ages attended and showed excellent English skills, as well as enthusiasm for learning and experiencing something new.
Several fun games evoked the real spirit of Halloween. Participants were inspired to use their creative thinking through activities like a pumpkin carving competition, scary cupcake decorating, and a straw skeleton craft. A “Trick and Trivia” quiz and a guest speaker from the U.S.—a student currently studying at one of Budapest’s Universities—created a very friendly and informative atmosphere in which participants learned many things about U.S. Halloween traditions. There was also a costume competition, with the person with the scariest costume winning traditional American candy!