Celebrating Halloween

It’s that time of year again when gravestones pop out of the grass in people’s front lawns, bats are suspended across porches, cobwebs dangle precariously around doors and great yellow CAUTION signs are taped across front entrances. Some particularly enthusiastic houses have even acquired a coffin or two!

For people who’ve grown up with Halloween and take these preparations for granted, my giddiness must seem bizaare charming. Of course, when you consider that Halloween was almost non-existent when I grew up in Hong Kong, it’s a lot more understandable. The one and only time I went trick-or-treating, I took the lift up and down our block of flats to knock at each door, but only a few opened up and even fewer gave me candy (not being prepared for this very North American tradition in the middle of Asia). I think I ended up with two handfuls.

But here!

I once saw a tiny Asian girl clutching her pumpkin bag with a very intense expression on her face as she moved her rapid little legs as fast they would carry her over to the next door of magic candy-giving goodness. You could tell how serious this mission was to her, and I thought, ‘That would be me if I were five.’

Being too old for trick-or-treating (sigh), I’ve been looking for various other ways of having fun. A couple that I’m planning on doing this year are:

Visit the Dunbar Haunted House

One of the Marine Drive Residence Advisors told me about the Dunbar Haunted House, a famous haunted house that spends three months setting up for Halloween and is run by over a hundred volunteers. They raised over $67 000 for charity last year. Wait times can apparently go up to an hour and a half but I want to take a look anyway.

Go Trick-or-Eating!

Trick-or-Eat is possibly my favourite Halloween cause. Join a team (or make one with your friends), dress up in your costume of choice and go door-to-door asking for non-perishable food items on Halloween! All food donations go to the Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society. I participated with Trick-or-Eat in 2009 and really enjoyed it — people are wonderfully generous with food at this time of year (and a few also gave me candy, so I guess I got my trick-or-treating experience after all!).

(UBC students can just look under Locations/Vancouver/University of British Columbia to join, but you don’t have to be a current student to do this — I’m going with a bunch of my brother’s friends, all of whom are alumni.)

Have you got any other suggestions for Halloween that I might like to check out? Let me know in a comment!

Oh yes, my best friend from home just reminded me that it’s Diwali today. Happy Diwali!

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