What? You’re not into Halloween!

Halloween in Italy

Okay, let’s get one thing straight. I love Halloween. I love how a festival that encourages kids to dress up as witches and other ghoulish creatures is also a thinly disguised lesson in giving.

I love that neighbours give the local school children bags full of candy and parents give  kids fantastic costumes – and a night off from doing homework.

Most of all, I love the fact the staff at our school give up their free time to host our Halloween party and as for the kids …Well. I love that they participate in such an important cultural event.

So that’s why, despite the fact that this year I’m just not feeling it, we are still going to get out our pumpkins and put on a party.

To me, and lots of moms like me, dressing up and trick-or-treating is a way to start a conversation about the importance of generosity and, yes, giving something back to the community.

‘Kids helping kids’ is the name of the fundraiser our school runs each Halloween – and the concept is simple.

We encourage our students, who range in age from just a few months to kids in their late teens and are often from higher-income families, to donate some of their extra pocket money toward helping other children in the area so that they can benefit from English lessons too.

Because you can’t ask for money without giving some of your own, we also make sure that our organisation makes a valuable contribution to this cause.

Along with raising awareness about social inequality, disadvantage and community responsibility, we are trying to encourage our students to mix with people from different cultural, social and economic backgrounds.

These are things that are so important at a time when many people are moving countries for a range of reasons and the need to be open to differences it at its peak.

But it’s not one way, giving rarely is, and in return for their donation our kids get to learn more about the world around them. They are exposed to another way of life and have the opportunity to broaden their mind in the best way possible, through new friendships.

So despite the fact I have a serious case of Halloween fatigue, I am still going to enjoy it.

Italy, and my adopted hometown of Florence may be new to this festival, but they have inspired me to see it with new eyes and to view it as a chance to give back to the community I love.

Posted by Maria