Even in Japan, Halloween is starting to become a huge event.
This year, I went trick-or-treating for the first time and thought I’d share my experiences in the U.S., home of Halloween.
Although I’ve lived in America for a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it kind of two and a half years, apartment block living has meant that we have never had kids come to the door for candy. (I’m sure it differs depending on the apartment, but perhaps we don’t see any because my building is home mainly to singles or couples without kids.)
Halloween in the U.S.! I’ve always wanted to experience it. Ever since I first heard of kids trick-or-treating and getting lots of candy, I’ve longed to be involved.
This year, minding a friend’s children gave me the chance to go around the neighborhood!
A residential area with single-family homes lining the streets
I thought maybe we could just go and ask for candy from every house, but it seems that’s not the case. It turns out that start and finish times are firmly set and houses willing to give out candy leave their entrance light on or garage door open. Conversely, if the light is out it indicates that the house is not giving out candy (or that there is no one home).
There were houses where the whole family was out in force, sitting around a bonfire on camping stools. There were also homes where the family were waiting with their pet dog alongside magnificent Halloween decorations. In some places the decorations were not cute at all — there were eerie skeletons and witches, and spooky background music playing.
It was hard to believe that people had managed to decorate to such an extent in the few hours leading up to the start of trick-or-treating!
Naturally, on Halloween night in the U.S. the focus is on the kids! It’s unbelievably cute to see the kids, dressed in a wide range of costumes, saying “trick or treat” and holding out their pumpkin buckets for candy.
By the time the kids have been around the neighborhood, their buckets are overflowing with candy — enough to make them too heavy for small children to carry. It goes without saying that this is the day of the year where children receive the most candy.
At my sister-in-law’s house, they handed out an incredible 700 candies!! It seems that getting the candy ready is not an easy task either...
Trick-or-treating began when the light dimmed in the evening.
We wandered the neighborhood collecting candy, and of course it was fully dark when we finished. The temperature also drops, so adults must take measures against the cold!!
I didn’t manage to capture the effect completely in my photos, but there were huge numbers of children wearing home-made or unique costumes.
There was even an incredibly realistic looking zombie child who shocked a squeal out of me when I dropped by the supermarket on the way home. I burst out with, “You’re just too scary...but amazing!!” and found out that his Mom, who was standing next to him, had made the costume. “It was our first time participating in the costume competition at the school this year, so I went all out. You’d never believe it with this look, but normally this one has a really cute face.” I loved the way she casually threw in a compliment for her own child.
One last note — the kids told me later that there is a dentist nearby who gives the children money in exchange for the huge quantities of candy they collect during trick-or-treating. Apparently, one pound of candy is worth one dollar. “I got a whole eight dollars!!” a delighted child told me. LOL
Although trick-or-treating is an event for kids, you can be sure the adults also get their fair share of sweetness pleasing the kids.
Next year I’d like to try being on the side that gives out the candy!