Today I taught at Shimada. The school has only 64 students, so all the students know me, and I have been pumping them up for Halloween for nearly a month now.
One of the students at Shiamada absolutely loves Halloween. He is a special needs student, and most of the time he seems to just be confused about who I am, and why I look so different. When he found out that Halloween is an American holiday, and I am an American his excitement was palatable.
This student loves Halloween year round, and he works very hard to bring Halloween to life in his own life (in fact I would say he has a gift for it). This year, the school gave him a small piece of land to grow Halloween pumpkins on. He has been caring for them since last June, as they grew he brushed dirt and other vegetation off so that they would grow as round and perfectly orange as possible. Today for Halloween he finally cut them. He grew five perfect pumpkins, and then he cut them into Jack-o-lanterns.
Not often in your life will you get the chance to participate in someone else's perfect day, but I got the opportunity to participate in his. All the students and teachers at the school knew that today was first and formost his special day, because it was halloween. All the students were excited for him, and for halloween. The teachers were eager to let me add to his special day. No-one in his real life had ever fully participated in Halloween before, so when I showed up in full costume, he began to cry with joy, which left me, and almost anyone who saw him, holding back their own tears.
He knew that you could cut the pumpkins, but he didn't know that you could eat the seeds. The teachers let me make candied pumpkin seeds with the seeds he scooped out of his five perfect pumpkins. His gratitude towards this treat was overwhelming, his first reaction after eating his first seed was to run to his teaching aid and insist that she enjoy it too. This boy has such a big heart, his first response whenever he is happy is to make sure that his friends are happy too.
This student understands the fundamentals of Trick-or-treat, but he has never been rewarded for his knowledge. I came to school prepared with a couple hundred stickers, so that I could let all the students trick-or-treat in the English room. I enjoyed watching him teach the other students that if they knocked on the door and said "Trick-or-treat" they could get a present from me.
The day was wonderful, his happiness emanated in all the teachers. The most wonderful moment of the day came after lunch. He came to me with his teaching aid, and said (through translation)
"This Halloween is everything I ever dreamed of. You are a bear, which is wonderful, and you are a Halloween person. Thank you for making Halloween so wonderful! I want to give you one of my Jack-o-lanterns to say thank you." He gave me one of his perfect Jack-o-Lanterns. Few gifts in my life have come with such profound meaning.
This Halloween was an absolute treasure because of a boy who took the time to experience his own profound joy, and in that joy, shared it with those around him.