There is a time that many people wait for all year. They plan for it, lose sleep thinking about it out of sheer excitement and when it’s finally over, they cannot wait until next year. That holiday, is Halloween.
In some cases the October 31st holiday of Halloween is more popular than Christmas as far as fun factor goes. While Christmas has presents and meals, it also has family stress and expenses that only seem to go up each year – Halloween has candy, dressing up, scaring people and parties with friends. And candy… that can’t be said enough.
For those unfamiliar with the holiday, Halloween dates back to pagan traditions of honouring the dead and harvest festivals. Children dress up and go door to door in their neighbourhood to get candy, schools have dress up days and dances, adults throw costume parties or go to bars for similar occurrences.
Most popular in North America despite having its roots in Europe, Halloween is a pretty big deal with special scary movies, shops almost exclusively designed for it and almost as much fanfare as Christmas, minus the day off (boo). If you find yourself in Canada or the U.S.A. on or around October 31st, be sure to take part in the festivities by dressing up. Here is a sampling of the places that observe Halloween in one form or another.
Traditions range depending on the area, but most people have children go door to door ‘trick or treating’ in costumes for a piece of candy until around dark. For those with no children or in their teens, Halloween parties are the thing to do, ranging from private to clubs/bars. Everyone dresses up as something, ranging from superheroes to animals to objects and often prizes are given out for the most creative. If costuming isn’t for you, check out the host of scary movies or Halloween themed television shows that are shown during this time – there’s almost always a new slasher flick having a late night screening.
As is true with many things imported from the west, Japan’s fascination with Halloween is just beginning and is mostly relegated to small private parties and ex-pat bar celebrations. Particularly if you’re in a big city like Tokyo or Nagoya, you won’t be hard pressed to find some way to spend the night!
Halloween is a big deal in Ireland, seeing many of the same traditions as in North America including parties, pumpkin/turnip carving and dressing up as something scary.
A peculiar lot are Aussies, as many hold Halloween in disdain, resenting it for being ‘too American’ and calling trick or treating unsafe (well, maybe it is in Australia!) – surprising because Australians come across as being pretty relaxed and always up for a good time. That being said, you can still find celebrations and private parties.