I don’t seem to have recorded the events of Hong Kong Halloween last year so better do it this year!
Boy, do the Hong Kong-ers love a commercial holiday! Any excuse to sell things at eye-watering prices and decorate apartment buildings with a million lights. Apartment building lights tend to go up for mid-Autumn festival and stay up throughout Halloween, Christmas, New Year and Chinese New Year before being taken down. So about half a year basically! With festival-appropriate adjustments to the decorations of course.
Last year, our apartment building arranged trick-or-treating. I had managed to avoid trick-or-treating for my entire life until this point. I had never done it myself as a child, or if I did I don’t recall, and I had managed to deter Joshua for the one or maybe two years that he asked to do it in England.
But in Hong Kong it is far more appealing. First of all, there’s no trekking the streets in the freezing cold darkness because it’s not dark or freezing. Secondly, there’s no trekking the streets at all! Although experiencing dark and cold is probably the whole point of Halloween! The management of our building sends out a notice to all residents informing us of a selected date for trick-or-treating and we have to reply stating how many kids we have taking part and whether we are happy to have the trick-or-treaters knocking at our door. So you don’t even get the unwanted callers. No more turning out the lights to pretend I’m not home! Yes, I admit it, I’m a Halloween scrooge. Well, I was. Now I love it! I even bought myself a mask and some glittery spider webs to stick on myself this year to get into the full spirit of things.
Eden on the other hand, does not love it. Yes, she might be all ‘tough cookie with attitude’ most of the time, but when it comes to the crunch …. she’s not! Last year, she had no clue what was going on and within about 5 minutes of being surrounded by scary looking kids she was hysterical and had to be brought home, still managing to accumulate an impressive amount of sweets. Josh couldn’t get enough of it and had a great time.
So this year, we were prepared for Eden to chicken out early again but we thought maybe she’d be ok, being a year older. She wasn’t and was again brought back hysterical! So instead she helped me dole out the treats to the callers which she was just about ok with.
What we weren’t prepared for was her total fear of the Halloween decorations in the lobby of our building. Last year Joshua and his friends had great fun with a skeleton that was mounted on the wall near the lifts. It had a sensor so that when you made a noise to set it off it gave out spooky ghostly noises. Fun! Not for Eden. She didn’t remember it from last year and completely jumped out of her skin this year when Joshua set it off for the first time! As a result we had to spend the next week until they took it down, coming and going from the car park level so that she didn’t have to pass through the lobby! Even now, a few weeks later, she still gets out of the lift a bit cautiously and checks the skeleton hasn’t been put back up!
We also went with friends to a Halloween party at their ‘club’. The kids all had a great time. Eden kept well away from everything apart from the buffet so she was happy. Joshua completely surprised us by totally loving the Haunted House that was set up there. Yes, this is my son who is normally afraid of absolutely everything that is unknown to him, especially the prospect of loud noises. Take him to a show and he’ll be so worried about anything that might happen that he’s a nervous wreck by the time it starts – but always loves it in the end. He will often not want to go to the cinema if he’s worried about any aspect of a film. Stuff like that. So we were blown away when not only did he take on the Haunted House with total confidence, excitement even, he went back in several times, and was also a total support to his friend who was much less sure, guiding him every step of the way. So just when we thought we’d brought the wrong child with us, typical big-hearted Josh made himself known again!