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Newsletter October 2017

Editorial – What is Halloween? By Josh, Assistant Program Coordinator at DTLA

What is Halloween? Though it is one of the most popular holidays in the US, the origins of Halloween go back to ancient Ireland. Every year, Celtic people held an annual festival called Samhain on October 31st, which celebrated the end of the harvest and the beginning of winter. Because the crops that gave them food died in the winter, the holiday became associated with death. Celts would build fires and make sacrifices, hoping to survive the winter. They even wore costumes, usually made of animal heads and skins.

In the United States in 2017, Halloween has kept the costumes and death, but gotten rid of the fires and animal heads. Americans dress up in all sorts of creative costumes, and they aren’t always scary. Often, people compete in costume contests to see whose is the funniest, scariest, or most beautiful. Children dress up in costumes to go Trick-or-treating. This is a tradition where kids walk around their neighborhood ringing doorbells and saying, “Trick-or-treat!” Families pass out candy to the kids, giving extra to those with the best costumes. Every Halloween, Americans spend more than $2 billion on candy!

Halloween is also a celebration of fall. Many traditions are centered around the food of the season, like making jack-o’-lanterns. Every fall, Americans visit a pumpkin patch (or sometimes even their grocery store) to pick out pumpkins. Then, they carve scary faces into the pumpkin, put a candle inside, and set it by their front door for Trick-or-treaters to see.
On October 31st, join the celebration by making a cool costume, carving a jack-o’-lantern,  watching a scary movie with your friends and eating lots of candy! Happy Halloween!

Language Systems Life Style – Futsal Tournament By Carlos Takashima, Program Coordinator at NELA

This year’s Futsal tournament was quite competitive and filled with drama from beginning to end.  There were some dominant teams that showed they were there to display their abilities and add points to their lead.  Students from every campus were enthusiastic and supportive of their teams and made every effort to keep their spirit alive.  And although not everyone can win, we all won a good time and the opportunity to meet our fellow students from other campuses and use the English abilities students came to learn.  Torrance and OC battled it out in the end with Torrance coming out victorious.  After the tournament, everyone was ready to take down a couple of slices of pizza and refreshments, while taking advantage of the photo booth opportunities.  We’re sure students had a great time and made some great memories with their friends.  We look forward to next year’s Futsal tournament and hope it will be just as fun as this year.

Discover LA – Knott’s Scary Farm By Paul, Assistant Program Coordinator at DTLA

Southern California is known for its abundance of amusement parks like Disneyland, Universal Studios, Six Flags, and so on. But one of the most under-appreciated one is called Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park. It has a nice blend of scary roller coasters and more relaxing rides for those who are scared of such things. In addition, it’s a theme park with characters from “Peanuts”, a famous American cartoon. You might not know who the Peanuts are, but there’s a good chance you know Snoopy! He’s one of them. It’s a fun place.

And… if you’re very brave… as soon as the sun goes down in October (the month of Halloween), Knott’s BERRY Farm turns into… Knott’s SCARY Farm!
Knott’s Scary Farm is the same location, except it has a horror theme. It’s definitely not for the faint-hearted. In fact, people under the age of thirteen are encouraged NOT to go. It can be terrifying. All around the park are haunted houses and mazes, but even walking between the attractions can be chilling. Hundreds of extra workers are hired to dress up in nightmarish costumes and their sole purpose is to try to scare the park visitors at any given moment. It is relatively easy for the “monsters” to accomplish this because after dark, the majority of the park is filled with fog and visibility is low. Someone could jump out at you at any moment, even when you’re not expecting it. Something might be waiting for you around any corner. They might even have a chainsaw. No place is safe. And then, when you reach your destination, such as one of the haunted houses, you might be scared not just because of the monsters in there, but also because it might have a theme that preys on your fears and phobias. Are you scared of clowns? Axe-murderers? Creepy dolls? Vampires? If not, you might permanently be that way after exiting the haunted house.
If this sounds interesting to you, check out for more information. Tickets start at $40. Personally, I think this place is far more thrilling than the Universal Studios’ “Halloween Horror Nights” equivalent, because it involves less waiting in line and it’s much scarier in general. But if you don’t like scary things, Knott’s Scary Farm is not for you. In any case, have a happy Halloween!

Free in LA (DTLA) – West Hollywood Halloween Carnaval By Josh – Assistant Program Coordinator 

If you’re in LA in October, you can’t miss the biggest Halloween party in the US! The night of October 31st, head to Santa Monica Blvd for the Halloween Carnaval, a gigantic celebration of costumes, food trucks, and fun!

The City of West Hollywood, which usually has a population of 35,000 people, becomes California’s seventh-largest city during the Carnaval, when approximately 500,000 people participate in the festival on Halloween night. The West Hollywood Halloween Carnaval is the Los Angeles area’s second largest annual event, second to the Tournament of Roses New Year’s Day Parade. To give you an idea of how big the event is, the Los Angeles Coliseum Holds 120,000 people, only about a quarter of the people that attend the Carnaval each year.

People celebrate in the streets of Santa Monica Blvd. to enjoy the wild costumes and rowdy crowds. The Carnaval has live bands and DJs performing on six stages, a costume contest and the crowning of the honorary “Queen of the Carnaval” (past winners include Queen Latifah and Lisa Vanderpump). The bars along Santa Monica Blvd. host patio parties with amazing drink specials.

The 2015 West Hollywood Halloween Carnaval celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Rocky Horror Picture Show, featuring the star of the film—legendary actor Tim Curry—as the Honorary Mayor of West Hollywood! The show has a long history in West Hollywood: its stage predecessor had its American premiere at the Roxy Theatre, and the film has become a beloved article of camp culture.
Boy George, the lead singer of Culture Club and a worldwide LGBT icon, performed on the main stage of the Carnaval.

The 2017 performers will be announced soon, and you can find updates online at

City officials encourage participants to carpool, use Uber or Lyft, or take public transportation. The city also operates a free, bright-yellow shuttle called the PickUp.
The street party is from 6-11PM, but the party will continue late into the night at the bars around West Hollywood.
Remember, NO BACKPACKS OR LARGE BAGS are allowed at the festival. If you need to bring some items, put them in a clear plastic bag.

Language Systems Faces Interview with Vivian Interview conducted by Ligia, Program Coordinator at DTLA

Vivian is a really popular teacher at the LA campus. Let’s learn a little more about her!

1. What are your favorite things about Los Angeles?
The beaches. I love swimming and boogie boarding. I grew up in Venice Beach, so that was where I went as a child. Now, I usually go to Santa Monica Beach. I also love the diversity of people and food. I can eat so many different types of food from Korean to Mexican to Thai.

2. What are your goals for the future?
To become confident and proficient in Spanish and Mandarin Chinese and maybe learn other languages like Portuguese and Korean! To continue to find opportunities to travel domestically and internationally. And to eat as many delicious foods as possible!

3. What part of your job do you like the most?
I love learning about my students and their cultures and countries. I love seeing them improve and become more confident in their English ability. I also like it when the whole class breaks into laughter or when the class goes so fast because everyone is so immersed in the lesson or having fun.

4. How do you think students can get the most out of their experience at LSI?
Participate in class as much as possible! Answer and ask questions. Don’t waste this amazing opportunity to improve your English by being on your cell phone or computer or chatting with friends in your native language. In your free time try and speak English as much as possible because with time you will get better! Also explore Los Angeles, ask your teachers for recommendations.

Student Article “A SCARY STORY” 

By Kristina Yeleshenko
This scary story happened ten years ago in Kazakhstan…

One woman bought a house. She was single and was going to live by herself. The first night after she went to bed, she heard a crying baby downstairs. Even though the woman was scared, she decided to go downstairs to check what was happening, but nothing was there. Then, she went to bed again.

The next night, it happened again, but this time she heard not only a crying baby but also the sound of a slamming door.

It kept happening for ten days in a row. On the eleventh day, the woman called her friend and asked him to come because she was frightened. On the same day he came, he noticed that the door was open. When he came in the woman was lying on the floor. She was dead. On the wall was written in blood, “No one dares bother me.”

Since that time, ten years have passed and no one knows the details of the woman’s death.

The End

By J. Sujinda
I was sleeping in my bedroom while my sister was taking a shower. I heard someone knock on the door of the bathroom, so I shouted and asked my sister what happened, but she didn’t answer me.

Then I went to the living room where my friends were and asked them if somebody knocked on my door. They asked me if I argued with my sister. I was shocked because there was nobody knocking on my door.

However, after my sister finished taking a shower, she asked me if I had knocked on the door of the bathroom, and then I was shocked again!

At that time, we didn’t know who knocked on the door because the sound of the knock was very loud. It happened outside our room. After realizing there was nobody in our room and nobody that knocked on the door, my sister shouted, “Diving 4! I don’t allow you to live in our room for free!”

The End

By Chinnawat Indrawasu
First of all, I have to say that I actually don’t believe in supernatural things such as ghosts or spirits since my father always tells me that there is no stuff like that in the world. However, something very weird happened to me five years ago and I still cannot figure out what it was until today.

This strange situation happened when I was working at my former company. It was the last Friday before a long vacation. Songkran’s festival would start the week after. At that time, it was my first week working for that company and everything was so hectic because I still couldn’t handle all the tasks.

I kept working until everyone in the building left. I looked at the clock and it was 8:00pm. It was cold and dark since every light in the office was turned off. Suddenly, while I was focusing on the computer screen, something happened with the automatic door handles. It sounded like someone was trying to get into the room.

The door was locked inside, so the person from the outside couldn’t get in the room without the key. I immediately ran to the door because someone might have forgotten their stuff, but I found nobody outside the door. I opened the door to find out if there was somebody. I didn’t see anything. It was very weird since it took only two seconds from my desk to the door and it was very difficult if someone tried to tease me because the hallway was very dark. As a result, I went back to my desk to turn off my PC and left the office as fast as I could.

After a long vacation, I told the story to one of my colleagues. The anxiety was shown on his face. He told me the story about the death of one lady who worked in the marketing section a few years before. He said that she had been a teaser who had liked to tease everyone all the time.

The End

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