Happy Halloween!

5 Nov
Ready for Halloween?

Ready for Halloween?

Halloween is an American holiday.  When I first came to China it was hardly celebrated at all – in fact, the term in Chinese was still even fairly new (万圣节).  Over the last seven years, it has slowly gained in popularity from just an additional night with some special drinks at bars, to being more entwined in the culture.


Now there are Halloween parties at schools, costumes available online and in some of the stores and even an office party.  I did have a discussion with a colleague this year as to how it all began, why it was important – and he admitted he still doesn’t see why it is getting popular, but others have embraced it.  The idea of being able to be someone else – whether an ancient Chinese poet, a zombie or a vampire has an attraction that transcends cultures.


As I mentioned, this year my company went all out and had a party on Halloween evening with different departments acting as teams and competing for the best skit.  I was assigned to the rag tag team of departments that were too small for their own group – and we really went all out.  I was the pumpkin queen for Super Mario who was spirited away by an evil thief and then had to be rescued from a series of monsters including a masked belly dancer, a tree, a flute playing assassin and an Egyptian pharaoh.  Our chief legal counsel was Mario – and he impressed everyone with his jumps and acting so much that our team wound up in second place!  It was a blast.

Mario rescued his queen!

Mario rescued his queen!

I find it ironic that after making Halloween merchandise for so many years for the rest of the world, the treats and favors are now being used by Chinese people themselves.


What was your favorite costume of all time?  I still remember a Care Bear costume that I wore in first or second grade.  That was definitely up there – though this year’s pumpkin was pretty good too.

Happy Halloween!


9 Responses to “Happy Halloween!”

  1. Every Day Adventures in Asia November 5, 2014 at 12:49 pm #

    Skit too?! Wow! That is ‘all out!’ And a new twist on the mere ‘dress up and vote on best costume.’ 🙂

    I don’t remember having a fav costume as a kid, but do find it amusing how previous every day fashions become a costume in the future.

    I’ll never forget one Halloween at a financial services company in Canada. I just pulled out some old clothes and accessories from my closet, spiked up my hair, caked on the make-up and bought black nail polish to go as a punk rock chick. Even won a prize. 🙂

    Lots of folks amazed where I could find such ‘authentic’ stuff… Til I shared these really WERE things I used to wear as a teenager. 😉

    • gkm2011 November 5, 2014 at 8:05 pm #

      That must have shocked them – and says something that you could still fit into your vintage clothes! I have a few items that I still have as well, but I don’t think they would make it for Halloween!

      • Every Day Adventures in Asia November 5, 2014 at 10:42 pm #

        That Halloween was… oh.. around 2000 so not so remarkable could still fit. 🙂 Now alas impossible!

  2. CrazyChineseFamily November 5, 2014 at 3:32 pm #

    It’s great that you celebrated Halloween. It is interesting that even in China now are these celebrations while in Germany, which was even heavily influenced by the US occupation back in the day, still has barely any Halloween events except in some major cities”

    • gkm2011 November 5, 2014 at 8:08 pm #

      That is interesting, I think Chinese people are more looking for the escape from reality – maybe Germans don’t need to? I consider Halloween a lot of fun – I go more for the sweet than the gory personally.

  3. Sarah M November 5, 2014 at 4:30 pm #

    Halloween features in so many films and TV shows, and I think that’s why it has such worldwide appeal now. I really don’t think it’s necessary in China, they have enough festivals of their own that mean more to them, but that’s life..

    • gkm2011 November 5, 2014 at 8:12 pm #

      Perhaps you are right – or perhaps the old traditions were buried so deep under Mao that there is a void that can be filled by other things? This is cool now for the younger generation, but who knows if it will stick.

  4. R Zhao November 6, 2014 at 7:44 am #

    There still pretty much no indication of Halloween where I live, but it’s a pretty small city. I guess I’m okay withy hat, even though I do love Halloween. My favorite costume was Rose Petal (she and her friends were all dolls that dressed like different flowers).

    • gkm2011 November 6, 2014 at 12:13 pm #

      Sounds like a great costume! We’ll see if the Halloween parade makes its way your way. It is amazing how much it has changed in Shanghai over 7 years – I think Shanghai tends to be at the forefront of those western influences though.

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