Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Celebrating Halloween in America and in the Philippines

The first Halloween I experienced in America was magical. I loved the spooky decorations, the scary costumes, and the custom of trick or treating. We lived in a community with many children and it felt like a neighborhood Open House, with children hopping from house to house collecting candy. My children used to come home with two pillowcases filled with  candy.  We also gave out candy to the children who stopped by.

Even though our children were only supposed to trick or treat in homes we knew, I still reviewed all their candy and threw away opened packages or suspicious looking candy. I used to laugh at the occasional toothbrushes given by some neighbor-Scrooges.

In recent years, we've had fewer children trick or treating. Apparently children now go to malls and parties instead of trick or treating. We used to get 40-60 children, but last year, we had around 10.  Very sad.  I'm not even sure I'll decorate the front of my house.  Usually I have some skeletons and swinging bats and cobwebs with clinging spiders.  I do have some candy in case trick or treaters come around; plus it's fun to indulge in Halloween candy once a year.

In the Philippines, where I grew up in, we did not trick or treat. October 31st and November 1 were All Souls Day and All Saints Day respectively, religious holidays.  On All Souls Day, we did Visita Iglesia, which meant we visited one church after another, to pray for the dead. We also visited the graves of our loved ones. Some families had picnics at the cemetery; and at the end of their visit would leave food in the cemetery, supposedly for the dead.  My family didn't do this, but we lit candles, prayed for our dead, and talked to some friends who were at their family's cemetery plots.

There was an interesting ritual that we did in Cebu after visiting the cemetery, the "palina" -- which consisted of walking by a bonfire so the smoke would pass over your body and "cleanse" you.

So for me to experience trick or treating in the US and to be exposed to all the horror shows at this time of year was and is fun.  Most Halloweens, I put on a costume, nothing too outrageous, maybe a long black dress and a witch's hat, and I wear this all day. Other people wear costumes too, so I'm not alone.

I don't know if some children will come by to trick or treat this year; I hope they do. I'd feel very sad if the trick or treating tradition stopped.

I took the pictures shown here at a museum featuring the Mexico Day of the Dead, also Halloween, but celebrated in a more dark way, I think. The skulls in the picture below are made of sugar; each skull is candy!

Have a happy Halloween, dear Readers!  And you know, I'm very curious how people in other countries celebrate Halloween, so let me know Cbrainard@aol.com.

 Here are some scary movies to watch this Halloween:
The Exorcist - I read the book before watching the movie; I was so frightened I stayed up all night;
Psycho - I've seen this many times and I still scream when I see the old woman in the chair;
Young Frankenstein - This is one of the funniest movies!
Dracula - Very creepy!
Misery - Every author's nightmare!

Read also:
The Turkish Seamstress in Ubec
Happy Halloween 2008
Visiting the American Southwest
The Many Faces of Mexico
Visiting Colonial Mexico
Pictures of San Miguel Allende and Guanajuato, Mexico

tags: Halloween, All Souls Day, All Saints Day, Day of the Dead, Dia del Muerto, October 31, holidays

All for now,

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