Happy Halloween from TKZ!

Photos purchased from Shutterstock

It’s All Hallows’ Eve, and in the US many of us are getting ready to give out treats to bands of little ghosts and goblins roaming the neighborhoods.The rest of the world celebrates Halloween-like holidays in a variety of ways.

In Mexico and parts of Latin America (and here in LA) people celebrate Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) during the first two days of November. On those two days, according to the tradition, the souls of dearly departed Loved ones are allowed to return to Earth to reunite with their families. The holiday is celebrated with little in-home altars and offerings of pan de muerto (bread of the dead), candy, toys, and other goodies.

Japan celebrates the holiday with the famous Kawasaki Halloween Parade, a gathering of some 400 celebrants in some of the world’s most impressive Halloween costumes.

In Hong Kong, people celebrate the Hungry Ghost Festival. Festival goers distribute snacks and money to “ghosts” for sustenance in the afterlife. 

From late September to mid-October, Buddhist families celebrate Pchum Ben, a religious 
holiday to honor the dead. People hand out bundles of sticky rice wrapped in banana leaves, and visit temples to offer baskets of flowers.


What is your best memory or tradition associated with Halloween? Mine is wandering around our little rural Connecticut hamlet as a small child dressed up in giant butterfly wings that my mother had made for me, collecting pennies for UNICEF. Will you be handling out goodies to little goblins tonight?


15 thoughts on “Happy Halloween from TKZ!

  1. I wasn’t much of a fan of Halloween but after reading how they celebrate in Hong Kong, I need to go there. I could use money for sustenance and I’m glad to dress up as a ghost. 😎

  2. I live in China and Halloween is just starting to catch on here. Since it is not a Chinese holiday and they are just copying it from western cultures it is fun to watch as people start to participate in this holiday they really don’t understand.

    Tonight, we actually got trick or treaters. Several kids who only learned about this practice yesterday. They were directed to our apartment because we are the strange foreigners living in our building. All they knew was if they knocked on our door they would get candy.

    They had no bags and thought it strange that we asked them to say “trick or treat”

    It reminds me of how my wife and I try to participate in the holidays of this country even though we only have a shallow understand the history or culture of the thing we are celebrating.

  3. My best childhood memory: being old enough to make my own, pretty darn good Halloween costume but still being young enough to trick-or-treat.

    Yes, we’ll be handing out candy to little goblins tonight, but we usually get only a couple of trick-or-treaters. The church harvest parties and trunk-or-treating gatherings have kinda taken the place of traditional trick-or-treating in our area.

  4. Sadly, because we live on a mountain in a rural New Hampshire town, we don’t get trick-or-treaters. For safety purposes, it seems more and more parents are leaning toward kids’ Halloween parties rather than going door-to-door. Have you noticed this? It’s a shame, really. Some of my best memories were going trick-or-treating with my brother. That said, I do understand it. I wouldn’t want my grandchildren knocking on strangers’ doors. I’ve read too many real-life horror stories about razor blades tucked in apples and poisonous candy. Everyone looks suspicious through a crime writer’s eyes. LOL Gone are the days where neighbors bake something special for their favorite kids. Growing up, we had one elderly lady who made caramel apples and another who invited us in for ice cream sundaes.

    In the news recently, they listed costumes that are now banned so as not to offend someone. Did you read the list? As a kid, I was a hobo for five years in a row. That costume is now banned.

      • The Reality Check podcast team looked into accounts of spiked Halloween treats and reported on it for a segment of their Oct 29 program.

        The recent meth adulteration you mention is true, and there are enough other verified accounts to establish that it is not unheard of for treats to be tampered with; enough so that care should be taken to examine candy wrappers for tear/repair, and the surface of fruits.

        Still, actual instances of verified tampering are vanishingly tiny, as this Newsweek article points out:


  5. Kathryn, I love Halloween in New Orleans. In some ways every day is Halloween there, but they do it right on October 31, particularly at the intersection of St. Ann and Bourbon in the Quarters. It’s become the second biggest holiday there, right behind Carnival. Here in Westerville, OH? I’ll be passing out candy to the kids and biscuits to the dogs while wearing a killer clown mask (most of the neighbors will probably say, “Oh. Hi Joe.”). Happy Halloween, everyone!

  6. My Halloween memory is of me and my BFF and another girl going Trick or Treating. My BFF, Alyson, was a monster with her head cut off. The fake blood looked so real. I can’t remember what I dressed as, but I carried her styrofoam custom-made head. It was great! We won first prize at the church where we went afterward for hot chocolate and a cake walk and costume judging contest. I led her around because she couldn’t see since her head was covered. My daughter is taking my granddaughter to a Trunk or Treat and promises to send me pics of her in her witch costume. I can’t wait to see them!

  7. Hi Sue, and a belated welcome to TKZ! (We’re vacationing and spotty reception, to boot!). We still get lots of trick or treaters but probably because we’re in a house-dense neighborhood. But I do think more families are opting for the party route. Fun night for the kids, either way!

  8. In college my roommate and I went door-to-door in the dorm, knocking and saying, “Trick or beer.”

    I don’t remember how it all wound up…

  9. Ah, the joy of winning the costume contest—how fun! I’m still bummed my butterfly didn’t win when I was 6, lol.

  10. We live out in the country and would be quite alarmed if someone came to our house. But I grew up in the suburbs, and was rabid for Halloween. I was allowed to go out without my parents after age 10, and it felt like total freedom to be both on my own and disguised as…Raggedy Ann!

    I really do miss taking my kids out. Of course, they’re 25 and 18 now, so that would be weird. Making their costumes or putting them together was the best, and I loved going out with them even when it was raining. Happy memories.

  11. We did it as kids, but as an adult I have never done it. That is partly due to my religious leanings, but mainly because of my wife. When my wife moved to the US back in the 80s she had never heard of Halloween. She had grown up in the newly emerging modern South Korea of the 60s & 70s, where old and new worlds were slowly beginning to mingle as they recovered from the devastation of war. While she had no idea of Halloween, she did know plenty about people dressing up and making demands of others, that being in the form of Shamanists that likely were a bit closer to the Samhain (pronounced saw-ween) practitioners of old, that holiday being lately morphed into Halloween as we know it today. The people in masks dancing around and requiring payments weren’t cute little kids playing dress up, and they weren’t generally nice. Her own grandmother was one of them and had a full-fledged shrine including idols and incense in their house. Upon going to enroll our first son in Kindergarten a little late in the year (we’d just moved) she was stunned and frightened by the monsters, witches, and skeletons decorating the school. Instant nightmare sensation, because what that stuff seemed to represent wasn’t kids fun and games back home. She homeschooled that year. Eventually she learned it wasn’t the same here, and while we still never did trick or treat with the boys she’s no longer freaked out by most of it.

    As a side story, as a girl she was among the first to be baptised as a Christian in her town. When her shaman grandmother learned about it and learned what this new religion was about, she became the first adult to convert, got rid of the shrine and idols in their house and became a devout Christian the rest of her life, never uttering another curse against those who wouldn’t give her a treat.

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