Ugly pumpkins, ridiculous costumes and over-the-top makeup, trick or treating for kids and scary themed parties for the adults, the story of Halloween runs deeply in the Western culture. And these days I have been observing a flood of Halloween posts in my social media accounts . “10 ideas to celebrate Halloween with your kids..”, “10 craft projects for Halloween..”, “10 things to do at Halloween night..” There are parties happening for Halloween. Costumes are getting sold. Myriads of contests are posting spooky pictures and asking to share even more ghostly pictures. And amidst all this, I am puzzled, baffled and tickled.
I don’t know if this is the notion of globalization or a modest thought to adopt cultures regardless of the geographical borders. Howbeit, I am sure about one thing that I hate the idea of kids celebrating Halloween here in India.
I have a few questions in my mind that I humbly want to ask those Halloween party people:
- How you are planning to explain Halloween to your young kids? A few days back I heard my 3 years old saying something as “Bhoot”. I was already scared. I wanted to know who was seeding something like this in his fragile mind. I explained to him that there is nothing like “Bhoot” or “Ghost”. And then he is seeing the pictures of people dressed up for Halloween; like a Dracula or a bloodsucker demon. I am clueless how to explain to him that although ghost and demons don’t exist, there is a festival when we celebrate ghost and evil spirits. Oh, by the way, my 3-year-old still doesn’t know about spirits yet.
- Should we allow our kids to talk to strangers next door? Now what I read about Halloween in relation to kids is; They are supposed to ask for either treats or tricks at the houses they choose to knock on. I so hate this festival in the Indian context. We all know how safe the streets of India are once the sun sets down. We are attempting to bring a holiday that celebrates horror to a country where intensely horrifying things happen in real life. This may be eerier as I fear of someone forcefully pulling my son inside his/her house and then giving me ransom calls.
- Are we not contradicting the themes of Indian festivals? Diwali is the festival of lights. Holi is the festival of colours. Rakhi is the festival of love. Now I can even see a point in Thanksgiving which is the festival of gratitude. But Halloween is the festival which celebrates horror and everything spooky. Lights, colours, gratitude, are completely opposite to the spreading of horror in the community. Indian festivals celebrate the victory of good over evil while this festival recalls evils. In Navratri – we worship girls as Goddess Durga who killed demons and now letting our children dress up like a demon may be confusing for their morale. Moreover, in our country where people are already very good in making bad tricks to cheat others, think of the offensive ‘tricks’ people would commit in the name of Halloween. It’s so scary.
- Being here in India, do we run out of festivals that we are trying to import a new one? We had 20 consecutive days of them this month of October alone. And you still want to continue saga for some more days? I am out of budget now and my energy to shop is highly drained. I am in no mood for celebrating something like Halloween where tradition demands that people dress up in fancy costumes (Scary ones) and put on face paint of colors like blood red and black. I am all happy with Holi and Durga Puja where as well we play with colors.
All Hallows Eve: Anonymous
Now the witching hour is near
The curtains are drawn tight
And I’ve turned off the lights
The TV volume is way down low
I sit and cower it its feeble glow
Then comes the knock upon the door
And I curl up quivering on the floor
My heart is pounding my breath is shallow
My mouth is dry it’s hard to swallow
On all hallows eve I live in mortal dread
But not of monsters or the un-dead
The fear that turns my heart to stone
Is Trick or Treaters knowing I’m home