Halloween Fun for Filipino Children6:35 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|
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.