When I first arrived in Taiwan 15 years ago, Halloween only consisted of a few costume parties hosted by expats or at bars geared towards the expat population. Also, only a very small, very limited selection of Halloween décor and costumes was available at one or two retail stores. Yes, some English buxibans (cram schools) and kindergartens hosted Halloween parties for their students which consisted of haunted rooms, pumpkin carving activities, and costume contests. However, in all honesty, if you were not a foreigner or a person attending or employed at an English school, Halloween could have come and gone and you would have been none the wiser.
However, fast forward 15 years and the Halloween scene in Taiwan (well, at least the concept and idea of it) has become rather popular. No – children don’t go from door to door at night collecting treats. No – people don’t decorate their houses and windows with witches, ghosts, skulls, and Jack-o-lanterns. And no – retailers don’t stock their shelves with small ‘fun size’ chocolate bars, bags of potato chips, and candy.
But nowadays, there seems to be a lot more attention and focus placed on Halloween decorations and Halloween displays – mostly cute-faced Jack-o-lanterns, Casper-like friendly ghosts, and adorable smiling witches. For example, when I went window shopping last week in Taichung, I was surprised by the amount of care, effort, and money department stores put into creating smaller indoor displays and one even created a box display outdoors (all photos in this post were taken there). I have to admit that it was nice seeing the little kids entering the small house-like structure: some were rather curious and some looked completely terrified.
Also, there seems to be a lot more scheduled costumes parties held at department stores and big name retail stores. Maybe it is a sales tactic to attract more customers to their location or maybe it is a way to draw in customers to increase sales and profit, but whatever the reason, these children’s parties seem to attract a lot of children as well as a huge audience. And because of this, there are a lot more Halloween costumes and decorations for sale during the month leading up to Halloween.
So, there you have it! The concept of Halloween in Taiwan has definitely evolved over the years!!
Happy Halloween from Taiwan!!
Now, over to you! How about where you live? Is Halloween celebrated there? If not, can you see glimpses of Halloween in your city or town? Do you have any plans for Halloween?
(Check out last year’s post: Halloween in Taiwan: A Teacher’s Perspective)