Halloween pumpkins with scary faces

From ‘Widespread celebration of Halloween in S’pore is befuddling’, 31 Oct 2017, Voices Today

(Skye Tan Su Cheen):  I’m a Singaporean who returned home last December after living overseas for 11 years. When we visited kindergartens here last October in preparation for my six-year-old’s enrolment, I was surprised to see Halloween decorations — obviously handmade by the students as craft projects — adorning the school. There were cobwebs, ghosts, witches and pumpkins.

Fast-forward to this year: Every mall we go to these two months seem to have Halloween decorations, deals and even “fright nights” planned. When we dropped by a community library on Oct 28, Halloween decorations jostled for space with Deepavali decorations. There was even a Halloween-themed section showcasing horror fiction that came with a challenge, “Do you dare to read this?”.

The widespread promotion and “celebration” of this day is dumbfounding, whether in schools, libraries, malls, and even among communities in the heartlands.

…My homeland, a South-east Asian country, looks like it has wholeheartedly allowed Halloween to be a part of our communal consciousness, and I find this befuddling. One thing I absolutely love about Singapore is how we celebrate every religious festival in our multi-cultural, multi-religious society, but Halloween is not a religious holiday.

What is its cultural significance here when it has its origins in western countries? Why is it endorsed so openly here?

It has become so pervasive that I see less decorations and programmes in malls about Deepavali, which is a relevant religious and cultural celebration by one of our key races.

I’ve two children aged two and six, and personally, I very much detest that there are so many horror images around public spaces that have been put up since August. I much rather spend my time explaining to them what Deepavali and a rangoli is about, instead of the differences between vampires and zombies and why pumpkins have scary faces. And don’t get me started on those advertisements at bus-stops promoting Halloween nights at a certain resort here.

I don’t quite want to keep telling my daughter’s school principal that I don’t want her cutting out figures of ghosts and witches as art and craft. It’s all plain silly.

…There must be other ways to build a sense of community and fun among our neighbours, ways that do not include horror figures, props related to witchcraft, and so forth.

First off, Halloween isn’t a ‘HOLIDAY’. People go to work as usual on the 31st of October, some with early morning mugs scarier than those faces on pumpkins. Though the modern version of Halloween isn’t associated with any particular religion, it has ancient Christian roots. You also can’t blame Halloween entirely for taking the shine off Deepavali, with Christmas lighting being notorious for overshadowing a fellow religious holiday. Instead of pointing your finger at zombies and overgrown Chuckys, blame a fat old man in a red suit.

But you know what’s another silly, befuddling non-religious ‘holiday’? Instead of witches you have chocolate hearts, expensive bouquets instead of pumpkins, lacy lingerie instead of cobwebs. Yes, Valentine’s Day, I’m looking at you. The widespread promotion of pink balloons and rip-off roses is as befuddling as people dressing up as Pennywise the clown and hiding in longkangs.

Sure, people can go overboard with the scares, with hanging mannequins and such. But believe it or not Halloween used to be a classy affair and was celebrated even way back in the 1940’s, when it was the theme for a ‘fancy dress ball’, a social event where people dance and eat pumpkin pies. Today’s Halloween incorporates cosplay culture, a marriage made in hell. But hey, people go to silly extremes when the occasion calls for it. You can go around dressed like a zombie chewing on your own amputated arm on Halloween just as well as you zip around half-drunk on New Year’s punching policemen in the face.

As for young impressionable children, you don’t need to wait till Halloween to scare the bejesus out of them. Kids encounter scary images in movie trailers, books, advertisements all the damn time. I mean, parents willingly introduce a purple dinosaur and a train with a face (named Thomas) into their innocent lives. A TRAIN WITH A GODDAMN FACE! And you’re worried about them cutting out paper bats and spiders. Geez.

I guess like most things in life that kids are not prepared for, we as discerning adults should adopt a ‘PG’ approach whether it’s Halloween festivities or half naked bodies on bus ads. They need to figure out for themselves that a gaping pumpkin isn’t scary, that witchcraft isn’t all about devil worship, and yes, sometimes life is too short NOT to be occasionally, well, silly.

 

 

 

 

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4 Responses

  1. Greetings, can I ask for your permission to reproduce this post on our education portalhttp://www.domainofexperts.com? As usual explicit mention shall be made of the fact it first appeared on your site, and we shall cite gdy2shoez as the author. Hope to hear from you again:)

    PS: Wishing you a Happy Halloween! Erm do you even “celebrate” the occasion? 😛

  2. You are most kind with your remarks. I was told the recent movies Happy Death Day and Jigsaw were mediocre, so if you are a horror fan you might want to save your money for something better heh. 🙂

  3. how’s these for scary?
    http://bit.ly/1clK1nh

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