Foreigners Bring Halloween to the Korean Masses

Halloween is a funny tradition. I believe it started in Mexico as All Hallows Eve where they honor the memory of the dead and worship spirits and have a dinner to commemorate the occasion. There are variations of it all over, and as an American, I can say we're just in for the candy. It has become less of a "scary" day and more of a costume party for adults to dress up in ridiculous things of any nature.

However, being in Asia for a few Halloweens now, Korea at least tries. Any child who's enrolled at an English Hagwon (academy) gets to celebrate the day with candy and costumes, and maybe even a party if the school really gets into it. My school the first two years completely turned a common room into a really scary haunted house (where I will say the goal was to see how many kids we could make cry). This year I was temping at a school, and during the 5 minute breaks between classes, the kids were able to run up to a different floor and solicit candy from the teachers. It was all pretty fun and it gives the chance to the kids to do something, well, childish, and they so deserve it.

But with anything, when you're away from home on a holiday you just want some kind of connection to it. The foreigners here go all out in full force to the usual areas of Itaewon and Hongdae and just party even harder than normal (which is pretty hard to do in a place of cheap soju and no closing times). This year, I decided to stay away from the masses primarily and just went to a friend's house party in Haebongchan (the neighborhood behind Itaewon). We wandered over to the bars afterward and of course, costumes and drunkeness aplenty.

Not sure how its done in other Asian countries, but if Halloween is your favorite holiday you can at least get a taste of it here.