Halloween Fun for Filipino Children

6:35 PM


It isn't quite clear when Filipinos started observing Halloween the western style.  No matter, it is quite evident that it has become an anticipated yearly event especially for the young children.  More than spookiness and fright, Halloween has become synonymous to fun, costumes, and treats.

The Traditional Filipino Halloween

The traditional Filipino style of  celebrating Halloween is absolutely different from the western- styled Halloween.  There was a time that costumes, pumpkins, and trick-or-treats were practically unheard of at least in relation to this event.  Although the fear factor was always there in the minds of children because of the obvious association of cemeteries with the dead,  Filipino tradition emphasized providing attention to loved ones who have passed on by visiting cemeteries and offering prayers for the repose of their souls.

School and work schedules are purposely designed to accommodate the expected exodus of families and individuals from their usual place of residence and work in the city to go back to the provinces where resting places of dead relatives are located.  This is probably the most ideal time to be in Metro Manila.  With less people and vehicles, the only crowded places are found in the vicinity of cemeteries.

By the last week of October, students are having their semestral break while offices are expected to declare non-working holidays a few days before the actual official holiday.  If we are to look at the Church calendar, November 1 is designated as All Saints' Day while All Souls' Day falls on the second day of November.  By virtue of long-time practice however, November 1 became the official holiday, a time which is expected to be used to visit the dead.

The visit to the cemeteries is usually an occasion for Filipino families to get together with relatives they do not get to see regularly.  Flowers and candles are the primary requirements for the day while food and some form of entertainment became necessary elements for the occasion.  Because of the renewed interest in preserving the solemnity of cemeteries, loud music and other activities that may result to disturbance are highly discouraged if not banned.


Shopping for Costumes

The Westernization of Filipino Halloween

The traditional practices of Filipinos during this time of the year have been fortunately preserved.  However, a new tradition has emerged with the commercialization of Trick-or-Treat events as observed in the wide availability of Halloween decors, costumes, and other paraphernalia.  Commercial establishments are organizing Halloween events one after the other.  Although western countries usually hold their Trick-or-Treat events on October 31, some do it here several days earlier because of the standing priority of going to cemeteries.  The Filipino family quickly adopted the practice and Halloween produced another meaning for children which is fun.

Exclusive, posh villages and subdivisions were the ones who initiated the practice here in the Philippines.  The celebrations they came up with created such a stir that soon other places followed suit.  One of the more popular Halloween celebrations is that of Ayala Alabang Village in Muntinlupa City.  It became so popular that outsiders or non-residents of the village want to be part of it as well.

Now, we see Halloween celebrations in many barangays and residential places all over the country and of varying economic levels.   Halloween became another excuse for festive activities signalling the coming of more joyous activities for children on Christmas.  Like in most foreign things we've adopted , we tend to do it in more ways than one and sometimes surpass the original.  


Lining up for the Goodies

My Say

Personally, I don't see anything wrong in adopting the Halloween practice in the spirit of fun.  Parents will always try to find opportunities for clean fun for their children and Halloween is just another option among many.  It is a fact however that this kind of activity entails cost .  Ready made costumes do not come cheap and children are happier when goodies come in larger quantities and in better quality.

It is therefore wise for Halloween event organizers to come up with ideas that will encourage more fun and creativity while discouraging wasteful expenses.  Exclusive villages should also realize that there is a reason why outsiders especially those that belong to lower income groups would like to be part of their activities.  That is the reality that there are people who are experiencing so much lack in material things amidst the abundance of a few that partaking of a few moments of fun and goodies become a much-awaited event.

That said, we should be aware that there appears to be certain reservations if not disapproval from the religious sector of the practice of Halloween because of its supposed association to the occult which many contradict.  The decision to allow children to join Halloween celebrations is primarily a personal parental decision.  It is safe to say however that Halloween fun for the Filipino children, at least in the eyes of the children themselves is simply the chance to go around in costumes and get treats.

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22 comments

  1. Early Halloween treat. I really love to dress up kids they looked so adorable. :)

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  2. I feel sorry for myself that I don't agree in doing this. There is a deep reason why this thing started from the West and it has become "normal" or has been a part of the pop culture. The propaganda succeeded until now because it has been turning to be "usual" or normal in our society. Almost everyone is already into it for the sake of "fun" or entertainment. But the origin is deep and we might be engaged into occultism without us being aware into it because it has been programmed in our society and our minds that this is normal. "Social Programming" or "mind control" are the most widely used method used by "some people" to make us appear that these things are usual and normal, or it's just for fun but the concept of evil and occultism is already embraced by our children until such time that they come to perceive these things as part of normal society because many people are not just vigilant. Instead of these things, we could just talk to our children about the importance of life and on how we gain an enternal life through Christ instead of doing a deep-rooted form of occultism that people are not aware they are already joining into (the ritual) just because it has penetrated the pop culture. Mommy Tere I hope you don't mind about this comment, I am not against anyone, I am just into my stand that I am not in favor of this. :)

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  3. advance happy halloween, i remember last year my nephew joined the trick or treat in sm Jollibee, her costume is pumpkin..

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  4. I like the scary tales during Halloween here where almost every show would be featuring ghosts and stories of the paranormal. It's nice to be scared at times.

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  5. We don't have haloween parties before, we only adopted this thing lately. I sure like seeing those kiddos in their cute costumes, or going out on haloween and seeing those establishments with Halloween decors and waitresses/Waiters wearing their scary costumes. But we should not forget also explaining to the kids the importance of nov. 1 for us pinoys.

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  6. im excited for halloween. how i wish I could join trick or treat with those kids and grab some goodies XD

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  7. I miss those times when we simply visit our loved ones who passed away and have an instant family reunion. It seems time has changed and more children remember this day in a different way. I hope parents still educate their kids of its real significance is.

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  8. back in the days we used to observe Halloween as a precursor to All Saint's Day, so fun, frivolity + festivities are actually out of the question. Halloween nowadays is much like Christmas in November, for kids, at least.

    We have partake in an activity like this in the past, but I have not really went on to buy my little man a scary costume + I do not think he'd like to be dressed in one :(

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  9. This way of observing the Halloween isn't very rampant in the Philippines yet. I must say though that it's fast becoming a trend, especially since malls at this time of year are now showcasing different Halloween costumes for kids. As a kid, I never even realized there's such a thing called Halloween. :)

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  10. I'm excited for Halloween! Yes, I know, I'm a little too old for that but I don't care. Hahaha! My nephew is also excited for his Pumpkin costume! Its his first Halloween :)

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  11. Although the idea of Halloween parties has only been adapted by Filipinos, it has become a tradition already. Kids and adults too find it very exciting to see scary people dressed up for the occasion.

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  12. We love celebrating Halloween at home because the kids love the party that me and my sister host.

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  13. I have to agree with Edmaration on this, having the same belief as him. It's origin comes from practices that the bible condemns along with a handful of other traditions passed down and modernized now in our generation...oh well, to each his own but halloween is not for me either :)

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  14. Edmaration: This is certainly another point of view which I respect because it is what you believe. I certainly don't mind receiving comments that are somewhat different from my view especially if it is done with much courtesy as you did.

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  15. Jared's Mum: My children also do not favor scary costumes so their costumes are mostly of cartoon characters, princesses, and superheroes.

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  16. Maricel: My generation didn't have these halloween events but somehow found myself in a time when it is considered something to celebrate. Note the greeting of"Happy Halloween!"

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  17. Marie: As I've said to Edmaration, I respect your view and anyone else's for that matter. I welcome genuine comments for my articles as long as they are "publishable", or do not contain words that will hurt people.

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  18. it's a funny thing that filipinos have adopted this wertern tradition. I can still remember my childhood days where peope are cautious during these day because of the wandering souls around the area.. we also play in the cemetery in search for lost souls and scare ourselves at the end...

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  19. we love joining halloween trick or treat, it's fun and you get the chance to dress something you don't use everyday.

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  20. it's been a while already that filipinos are doing this celebration/ practice. we started only when we already had children and big malls begun to advertise it... in our times, we do not have this. Yahweh bless.

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  21. we are organizing trick or treat in our community through one of the school in the subd. I was surprised to know that children and their parents were so excited about the idea even the non-students of the school are very much eager to join.. I believe people are open to this idea, its just that no one has been able to initiate the first step for them particularly in the community level. Most of the time, the notion about trick or treat is that its "para sa mayayaman lang," it shouldn't be that way. That is way this kind of events should have been made available to experience by the masses, otherwise the idea of trick or treat would remain an iconography of social partition of the rich and poor.

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  22. Trick or Treat is becoming popular these days. My kids did not experience this kind of event and they are now tweens. They would have enjoyed the event too.

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