Pixelventures theme for the week is Hallowe’en and they asked for something less commercial, but I couldn’t resist showing you what Hallowe’en looks like in Shanghai.
Our first year here in 2010 I was disappointed to learn, even though I was working at an international school, we couldn’t celebrate Hallowe’en due to some people against the ideas and beliefs surrounding the day. Many of my students who were American still went trick or treating within their compounds or had parties the weekend closest to Hallowe’en. To my surprise the local Carrafour shop had a few items for Hallowe’en like decorations and hats or wands. The next year there was more items and the third year, last year, we saw displays at some local restaurants, and the large western style Mall at the Kerry Parkside even had a haunted house display. Pizza Hut even had their employees wearing silly Hallowe’en inspired headbands. That year when I returned from work some local children had dressed up and gathered in the lobby of our building. I am not sure if they were trick or treating, but they were in costume.
As Georgia stated in her post, slowly the American tradition and commercialism has spread to where she lives in Italy and the costumes and dressing up collecting treats is more and more wide spread. It has even reached us here half-way ’round the world in China. Slowly as I said the idea and tradition seems to spread. I am not sure if it is the expats bringing the idea to local neighbourhoods where some richer local people live, or the locals finding out more about this custom. Maybe it is just curiosity from the costumes and decorations that we use, after all they all are made here!
Last night we were at the Kerry Parkside Hotel/Mall for dinner and local Chinese children were in capes, wearing witch hats and face paint. Two large jack ‘o’ lantern displays were actual stalls where they were selling these costumes and doing the face painting. It all was a little tacky and lack of true understanding of our traditions and commercialism turned into a fun night at the mall.
I snapped a few photos of Carrafour today with their meager display, few tacky cheap costumes and aisles of Hallowe’en decorations. A TV has been set up playing Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” over and over again to grab the attention of a whole new generation and culture. Is this what they think Hallowe’en is? I am curious to know if Hallowe’en has spread to other major cities in China and what it looks like.