Halloween - someone's been lying to the Taiwanese

now I realise Taiwan just adores all things American, and halloween being one of those stereotypically “American” holidays, one can hardly be surprised that they took to celebrating it with such enthusiasm, now before somebody gets histrionic about halloween not being “american”, i know that the roots of halloween lie in a European notion of “all hallows eve” etc. etc. but that’s beside the point…

there seems to be some quite astounding ignorance amongst the Taiwanese people i’ve spoken to about the whole idea… the common opinion amongst the locals seems to be that halloween is an international holiday, celebrated the world over… when I point out that halloween is some arbitrary slap up binge, that anyone outside North America & Canada couldn’t really care less about, the reactions range from surprise, to complete refusal to accept the fact…

but I’m interested… those forumosans who hail from areas outside North America & Canada… do you now, or have you ever given a damn about halloween?..

From Germany. Never given a damn but Halloween is slowly creeping in there, too, from what I have heard and seen.
10 to 15 years ago it was unheard of (with the exception of the movie of the same name …).

Not before coming here. I mean I’d heard about it and just perhaps as a kid the idea of going around and begging for sweets off the neighbours may have had some appeal. But I’ve got a nose for a good party. I don’t really get it but I do notice my Canuck and yank mates getting all excited - “what you doing for Halloween?” - they seem to be asking each other almost continuosly these past two weeks.

Actually I was more than a bit suprised to find my son back in Australia was pulling the Halloween scam with some mates last year. I guess he’s got more get up and go than I did.


What did they come back with? A bag full of Tim Tams?

I’m wondering what to give the trick or treaters if they show up at my door. I’ve got two packages of Pringles and enough Johnnie Walker and soda to make 20 to 25 drinks. That ought to do it. For the parents that accompany them, it’s Kaoliang all the way.

The question is not “what are you going to do for Halloween”, but rather “what are you going to be for Halloween?”. If you see an African American witch on the MRT tomorrow (complete with hat, yellow- and black-striped socks, black buckle shoes, and hat), that’ll be me. Say trick or treat and I might give you some candy. :wink:

ImaniOU, with your candy and my scotch and sodas, there’s going to be some happy Halloweeners out there tomorrow.

ah man, I hate this Halloween bit, another excuse for the kindy to ask me to play dress up. Chin. NY I am a Chinese god, Christmas = Santa (except last year - I was Batman, don’t ask why, it’s just insane), and ghost month - nah, but I think they’d love it if I showed up as a ghost :smiling_imp:

At this time of year in England, we were all “fired up” for November 5th (Guy Fawkes Night), and Halloween didn’t even appear on our radar screens.

A big box of fireworks, a huge bonfire in the back garden, a frighteningly realistic guy, and lots of succulently baked and barbecued goodies made November 5th worth any number of Halloweens.

Guy Fawkes was part of that rich colonial hangover, like the GG (Governor General - the Queen’s man in our part of the world). They had it for a few years when I was a kid but it being summer in Australia, crackers kept burning up the bush so they banned it.

As kids we dreamed of burning effigies of our most despised teachers and letting off bungers. Eventually we got a hold of the bungers but in deferrence to the fire risks, our fedayen type attacks on milk bottles and mail boxes were limited to the winter months.


Like the English, New Zealanders have always been more into Guy Fawkes Day on November 5th. Throwing guy on the bonfire, the night before the Christian All Saints Day, and Halloween, all stem from the same Samhain, festioval of the shortest day, the death of summer etc anyway. I’ve been teahcing my second grade students about how today’s Halloween customs come form Celtic Samhain, and they love it.

Back to the main point. In New Zealand children are slowly winning the battle to get to go out and score lots of lollies the way they see kids on TV. My mum wouldn’t let us, firstly because it was too American, and secondly because she didn’t like the idea of threatening people with treats to get tricks.

If you think it’s ridiculous that Taiwanese expect every westerner in the world to celebrate Halloween, just wait until Thanksgiving Day (whenever the hell that is). “What’s the story of Thanksgiving teacher Brian?” “I don’t know, something about Pocahantas (or was it Hiawatha?) giving the founding fathers a bunch of turkeys on Plymouth Rock”.


um… i went trick-or-treating with the kids in the neighborhood in Australia in 1984. scared the SHIT out of our neighbors.

My Aussie friends took the “trick” part seriously, too, and insisted that we mix this nasty sauce in a paper bag (included everything in the fridge, and some vegemite too). Then for the people who couldn’t rustle up some candies (or even some tim tams) we made them stick their hand in the bag.

needless to say it was a huge hit and we did it in 1984 and 1985 to.

I will definitely need my turkey-stuffing-cranberry-green-bean-casserole-corn-pudding-candied-yams-baked-mac-and-cheese-and-a-buttered-roll fix since I won’t get it at Christmas this year. What is the purpose of Thanksgiving in my family? To stuff your face, watch some football (especially all my mothers’ sisters, their s.o.'s and my grandmother…my step-grandfather isn’t really into the game), and get creative with 17 lbs of turkey leftovers for the 2 weeks that follow… oh yeah, and games of Tripoley, Trivial Pursuits, Scattegories, and Outburst enhanced by alcohol.

Isn’t that waht Christmas is for?


We never celebrated it in Aus and didn’t really give a toss about it either. When teaching Halloween at school here I find myself rehashing Home Alone pranks to keep the kids happy. The Melbourne Cup is the first Tuesday in November though, now that’s something to celebrate.

We celebrated it in Scotland by shagging a sheep or two – no, wait, we did that EVERY night – OK, I remember.

We had “guisin’ nicht” on Oct. 31, when we’d put on costumes (except me, since my mum always forgot until the LAST FRIGGING MINUTE, and I ended up year after year with just an old sheet over my head – a ghost, don’t you know? “And its just as good as Kenny from next door’s pirate suit that took his mum three weeks to make” – yeah, right mum, and HIS parents got him a fucking Raleigh Chopper with a banana seat, the jammy sod) and roam around the streets wheeling our “guy” for bonfire night in a wheelbarrow – you know, “Hey Mister, penny for the guy.” We’d knock on people’s doors and if we didn’t get battered or slashed by the householder, we’d “guise” for them, i.e. do a party turn that was every bit as embarrassing and cringe-making as it sounds. Actually, the white sheet over the head thing was a mercy in those cases. Then they’d give us cold hard cash, except the stingy bastards who’d fob us off with toffee or worse, apples :unamused:. Can you imagine, a 15 minute rendition of “Wanderin’ Star,” complete with larynx-shredding Lee Marvin voice impression and all you get’s a sodding apple?
The money was traditionally used to buy squibs for bonfire night, until later, when we’d pool our resources, get an 8th of Lebanese and fuck the damn fireworks (did I tell you we did this until well into our teens?).
Then there were the other traditional bonfire night activities – dookin’ for apples, eating treacle scones suspended from lengths of string (the scones, not the kids) with your hands tied behind your back, feeling up Lorna Cunningham in the cupboard under the stairs … but we won’t go there … ahhh childhood memories …

Oh the Raleigh Chopper :frowning: I wanted one so bad. Boy was I excited when I got a bicycle sized presnt on Christmas. Then Iopened it and it was some crap bike with ‘Chopper’ written on the side of it. Trust my olds to be so useless as to not know what a real chopper looked like. And I was such a nice kid I pretended to be all pleased with it depsite the fact that I could now never really have a real Raleigh Chopper! (Saddest story of my childhood - you can tell I had a deprived upbringing).


Isn’t that waht Christmas is for?


hey if it’s worth doing once it’s more worth doing twice. damn if there was football on easter we’d do it then too :slight_smile:

give the taiwanese a bit of credit here… kids dress up and stuff themselves with candy, OR light bonfires in the backyard and burn effigies? you make the call.

Referring to Sandman’s mention of shagging sheep on Halloween, I can state that this is indeed a long standing Caledonian tradition. On Halloween in 1986 my friends and I had four Suffolk Crosses and 12 Herdwicks. Although we were English, we found that crosing the border into Scotland was more fun than shagging the English sheep. At least where we were, near Moffat (pronounced Muff It), the locals found it acceptable that we partook within sight of the snug bar at The Sheeps Head. Sheepshagging on Halloween is, alas, an underappreciated tradition. Also, Herdwicks are more fun as they are generally more accustomed to harsher weather conditions and can take a bit of rough. Suffolk Crosses are OK but they tend to bleat a lot and they don’t like the gravel in country pub carparks.

Fluffy feet
Come on ewe
Trick or treat
Let’s hear ewe bleat

That was our song.

Oh yes.

Last year I was “asked” to be a woman. It was a humbling experience to be all dolled up, standing at a major intersection in Kaohsiung.

I do look very good in a dress. :shock:

Halloween is a spinoff from All Saint day.
I wasn’t for partying originally, it’s for recollecting on the death of the martyrs and saints, and our love ones, much like the Chinese QingMing Jie (Grave cleaning day). It seems most cultures have a day to do this.