Starting a new Halloween tradition in Taiwan
Thinking about Halloween
As we rolled into October here in Hsinchu Taiwan I started thinking about Halloween. How could we celebrate Halloween in a meaningful way, in a country that simply doesn’t celebrate Halloween?
We decided to throw a Halloween party and stage this as the main Halloween event to our children. We invited other expat families along with local families from our community. With the help of another great mom and Pinterest, my husband and I came up with a list of games / activities for the kids to rotate through in our home.
Our Halloween Games:
- Pin the Wart on the Witch
- Halloween Memory
- Halloween Magnetic Fishing
- Spiderweb Hop Scotch
- Haunted House Beanbag Toss
- Pumpkin Bowling
- Dangling Doughnut Eating (from a string)
- Mystery Texture Boxes
- and of course… a PINATA!
I won’t lie, the party took ages to prepare! We bought a few decorations, but then opted to make the rest. Thank goodness for stay-at-home mom friends who helped me out with this and my artist husband. Really, all I did was trace the templates (that were drawn for me) and cut them out. We had black construction paper cats and bats and a witch (flying over a yellow moon), orange construction paper pumpkins, and home made spiders creeping along our walls. We hung up a few store bought streamers and “Happy Halloween” signs along with some black and orange balloons. Of course, we had also spread some spider webs throughout various corners of our home.
The punctual party begins
By 2pm Saturday October 29th, our home was looking Halloween Party ready – in a silly /spooky kid kinda way. That said, this doesn’t mean that I was ready. Far from it. I had not finished putting out the food, or sorting out the “trick or treating” candy. I had not finished setting up my mystery boxes with gooey innards. And most importantly, I had not stopped to breathe… (or enjoy a sip of wine) since I had woken up that morning.
However, it was not meant to be.
In Taiwan, there is no such thing as “fashionably late.” EVERYONE is on time.
-If you are a Taiwanese friend reading my blog – please know that I actually love you for this! I really, truly do. I am just not used to it!
Because in Canada, nobody is ever freaking on time. In Vancouver, especially, you will be lucky if you know in advance whether someone is coming or not to your party. We know. There may be something better to do or somewhere better to be. And Goddess forbid one might ever be the first to arrive at your party.
Sorry, where was I? Oh yes, at 2pm on Saturday October 29th, which was the date and time I had indicated for people to arrive to my party, a flood of people arrived! I’m not joking! It was amazing and terrifying all at the same time.
The chaos began …
-Me Running around like a chicken without its head on.
-Kids running around my home and pulling out board games (board games are not on my mental list of activities people!).
-Adults standing around awkwardly because they don’t know each other and I am too busy to make introductions.
I felt like I had on my first day as a Kindergarten teacher. For those of you who don’t know me… I am a high school trained teacher. Enough said.
I suppose I could go on with silly details about how much the kids loved the dangling doughnut eating activity, or went crazy over the pinata. I could mention the tough demands of hosting a party while also trying to ensure that I didn’t forget about my toddler or baby. To horrify my teacher friends, I could even admit that I tried to get the attention of these 15 over-sugared and loud children by raising my voice louder than theirs.
But the real point I want to get across about our Halloween party is that despite the fact that my small apartment was packed like a can of sardines and that the whole scenario screamed chaos, THE KIDS HAD FUN!
Taiwanese families left the party thanking me for this Halloween experience. Expat families left thanking me for bringing our Halloween tradition – albeit radically altered- here to Taiwan. And as one Taiwanese friend put it…”I didn’t know all of these people in our community. Thank you for bringing us together.”