The Americanization of Halloween in the Philippines

Our idea of Halloween is traditional in nature. We go the cemetery come All Saints Day and mingle with relatives. That’s it. It is only in television that we get to see how Americans treat Halloween like a one big party. Nowadays, however, we get to see establishments especially in Bonifacio High Street dressed spookily as if reminding us that the trick or treat is only a few days away.

Before we discuss celebrating the Halloween at the mall, here are some insights on a survey conducted by the National Retail Federation among American households.

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What the survey says?

  • 7% will decorate their yards
  • 1% of the households will hand out candies
  • 8% will dress in a Halloween costume
  • 2/3 of all American households will buy Halloween costumes
  • The average American will spend about $77.52 this Halloween
  • The estimated collective spending on costumes is $2.8B ($1.1 billion for children, $1.4B for adults and $350M for pets)
  • $2.2B will be spend on candies

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Halloween at a gated community

There is no question that the Halloween fever is already in the Philippines although not as intense as the Halloween celebration in the US. For instance, Ayala Alabang Village in Muntinlupa City has been celebrating Halloween since mid-2000s.

As such, the gated community opens its doors to the Halloween costume-clad kids and kids at heart from all walks of life. Visitors go from one house to another walking or riding a bike, motorcycle, car or van for their share of candies and goodies. Apart from that, they marvel at the outrageousness of the décors at the houses yards. Picture taking is allowed with the ghost figures, rag dolls, masks, etc. In the last few years, the village features human-like figures all bloodied and even mutilated.

Halloween inside the village typically becomes chaotically festive (although it is not a tradition) because of the number of people on the streets. This is rare on gated communities like this, and yet the residents gamely welcome the visitors. Also, homeowners see to it that every kid will have their candies with them when they leave the house.

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Halloween at the malls

If you cannot go to Muntinlupa City but still want to join the festivities, then your next choice is the mall. For example, you can have your Halloween costumes ready for trick and treat at Alabang Town Center.

Majority of the malls in the country celebrate Halloween somehow. However, it is rare to see stores giving out goodies to the trick-or-treaters. What these malls have are designated activity centers not just for treats, but also for games and other fun activities. For this year, Alabang Town Center prepared at least three main activities name giant inflatable game, treat shop station and extreme games. The first two activities will be available on Halloween while the third one will run until November 2nd.

Certainly, the Halloween is for the kids, so bring them with you when you visit the mall. Anyhow, if not in Alabang Town Center, you can check out the events at other malls in Bonifacio High Street. Just make sure that you and your kids will enjoy. To get most of the celebration, join in the fun. For instance, get your kids in the costumes they want so they will trick or treat in style. Most kids will be in costumes and so shall your kids.

Other celebrations are the Halloween parade somewhere in Tondo, Halloween parties at the bars in Boracay and at schools and Halloween costume contests at the malls.

 

We love to copy the Westerners, and this is evident on how we slowly adapt celebrating the Halloween. Nevertheless, the adoption is still small-scale and sporadic. But who knows? There will be more villages and subdivisions that will open their gates to outsiders for trick or treat and more malls to visit in the future on October 1st for their Halloween-themed activities.

 

Image credit: USAToday.com | Telegraph.co.uk | IrishTimes.com