Another year has come and gone, another season changed, yet this marks a different flavor. While not my first Halloween in China, and not my daughter’s first Halloween, it was her first in Shanghai and her first honest to goodness Trick-or-treating. At the last minute I was able to find out about an expat community that was holding a house to house route. These were actual houses too, not town houses or condos, which was nice to see, real lawns, driveways, and decorations in trees, shrubs, etc.
My daughter wanted to go as a witch, the costume company made a mistake and shipped a cape with a hood, that had horns… so it was a modified witch costume. It was a long drive to get to the gated community, then an oddity to find a place to park the car but the results were more then worth any hassle. My daughter still wasn’t sure on the saying of ‘trick or treat’ but she tried and with all the other kids doing it she had plenty of observation to get her going. The community was great, participating houses were decorated and people on the porches, non participating houses had notes on the doors and were dark. With a little pumpkin bucket, her best friend leading the way they went off and got their candy. My daughter was curious about the decorations, jack-o-lanterns, people in costumes, etc. but took it all in stride. Her friend, a Chinese boy, was ecstatic at going to a place where they handed out candy for free without a long line. The two of them were calling it candy Christmas, 3 year old logic.
After making the rounds the parents of Sophia’s friend took us out to a restaurant where many of the trick-or-treaters were going for dinner, before the candy eating rush. As a first year outing it was a success. A clear moon filled night, mild temperatures where a light jacket was adequate, and while only about 15 houses were participating the candy yield was enough to last a few days. Here in China there is no need to x-ray candy as only the expats participate, all are professionals and live in a very specific location. The community was well lighted and the roads had large pots in them so cars could not go very far or very fast. There were plenty of parents out and the teens were very considerate to the kids and enjoying getting candy instead of participating in tricking others.
Seeing my daughter is not yet 3 there is time to teach her the meaning behind why kids say trick or treat, jack-o-lanterns, costumes, candy, etc. For now it is all just fun and different, something kids her are love. Getting to dress up for a night, do out to a new place, and have people give you candy is magical for a kid. Its odd that the trust, good nature, and spirit of the holiday have transported to China better then it has fared in America, where Halloween is celebrated the most.
As this was her first Halloween in Shanghai, her first trick-or-treating, and first year in dressing up I think my daughter has a wonderful time and will look back at is as fondly as my first few times at doing the same in Detroit. Here it is 2 days later and the temperature has dropped about 15 degrees and fall feels more like winter. We may not have had time to carve the pumpkin we got, or decorate the home more then just put a few stickers on the door but it is starting to feel more like the holiday season, which is what the best part of Halloween is, the signal of fall and getting ready for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Chinese New Year.