YES Alumni Celebrate Halloween Across Bulgaria

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Many Bulgarian Alumni of the YES program held celebrations for Halloween in their hometowns.

In Sofia, a party was held at the American Corner. Borislava Kaneva, YES Bulgaria ’10, shares her experience:

On the 31st of October, the American Corner in Sofia organized a Halloween Party/Workshop. Lili Valtcheva ’11 and I assisted with the organization and running of the party. Lili painted children’s faces with body paint markers and I helped run a game where you have to throw a ball and make it stick to the center of a target, and if you [succeed, you] receive a prize. There were two tables set with Halloween games—both tables were set for four children, so eight could play at one time—and the kids were able to run around, play their own games with balloons, and have fun with the microphone.

Everyone, had fun laughing and running around. I believe they will want to do this activity again next year!

YES Alumni with children at the Halloween party in Sofia, Bulgaria

YES Alumni with children at the Halloween party in Sofia, Bulgaria

In the city of Ruse, Halloween was recognized twice. Dyliana Nikolova’11 shares information about a presentation she gave:

Since Halloween is part of American culture, we thought that as alumn, we should share our personal experience with other Bulgarian students. We wanted them to understand the idea of this holiday and tell them more about the way it is celebrated in the US. Toma Pavlov ’12 and I decided to create a presentation about Halloween’s origins and traditions and present it to classes that are taught by an American teacher in Toma’s school.  We put some basic information together, added some pictures, and talked about carving pumpkins, going trick-or-treating, and those activities’ origins.

Bulgarian YES alumni Toma Pavlov ’12 and Dyliana Nikolova ’11 (both at right) give a presentation on Halloween to Fulbright teacher Kaitlen Whitt’s class in Ruse

Bulgarian YES alumni Toma Pavlov ’12 and Dyliana Nikolova ’11 (both at right) give a presentation on Halloween to Fulbright teacher Kaitlen Whitt’s class in Ruse

Afterwards, we presented some interesting facts and shared our personal stories from Halloween in the US. I think the students found it interesting and it helped to give them a more realistic idea of what Halloween is for Americans. I think the students  were most interested in the idea of haunted houses and mazes, because we have no such thing over here in Bulgaria. Lastly, we showed them a couple of videos of people going through haunted houses.  

Toma also held a Halloween party at his school, the “Geo Milev” English Language School. He writes:

Organized by both students and teachers, Halloween was a special day at my high school. Preparations began more than a week ahead of the celebration and many students were willing to contribute. We were all involved in making decorations that were put up both outside and inside the school building. 8th and 9th graders had the opportunity to carve pumpkins in their English class with our Fulbright teacher from the US, Kaitlen Whitt.

Student-made decorations adorned Toma's school

Student-made decorations adorned Toma’s school

Instead of wearing the mandatory school uniform, students had the option to wear a costume—this is the only time the entire school year we had that chance. Over 100 people came to school with costumes on that day, including a couple of teachers! After the last period, some English teachers organized an event in the gym, where students had the opportunity to show off their costumes in front of the whole school. 80 students participated in the improvised runway show. The runway was lined by the pumpkins that students carved. The audience had the opportunity to vote on the best costume and 10 student judges (two from each grade) decided winners.  The prizes were certificates, books, and caramel apples!

Pumpkin adorned runway for the Costume Contest

Pumpkin lined runway for the Costume Contest

Overall, this truly was the best Halloween that I have ever been to! This was the second time we’ve organized an event like this at our school and students were very enthusiastic. You could really feel the school spirit! There was so much excitement to see our fellow classmate in costumes and many photos were taken. I hope that this newly formed tradition will continue next year and even more students will participate!

I encourage every alumnus to organize such an event at his/her school. It is a great way to encourage your classmates to be creative and to generate school spirit! You’ll love it!

Toma (in American Flag tee) with his classmates, dressed in their costumes

Toma (in American Flag tee) with his classmates, dressed in their costumes

Lastly, in Rakitovo, Reneta Krivonozova, YES Bulgaria’12, hosted a party for children in her neighborhood. She writes:


My friends and I organized a Halloween party for the young people in our neighborhood. It was our second time organizing it, but this time I had more involvement from students and I had more help decorating and preparing the venue for the party.           


On the night of Halloween, we danced and took pictures in masks and costumes. At the beginning of the party, we talked about the holiday and how Americans celebrate. Many people had questions about different details of the holiday and were interested in my experience with Halloween.

YES Alumnus Reneta Krivonozova (’12) hosts a Halloween party in Rakitovo, Bulgaria

YES Alumnus Reneta Krivonozova (’12) hosts a Halloween party in Rakitovo, Bulgaria

I tried to make the atmosphere as “American” as I could by purchasing the same food and decorations that I would use if I were organizing a party in the US. Many people came and many wanted to have more events similar to this one, because we not only exchanged interesting information, but we had fun in a different way than we are used to.