Halloween or All Hallow’s Eve is dedicated to remembering saintly departed souls. Its modern association, however, is more with ghosts, ghouls and other stuff of horror. It’s primarily a western holiday where people dress up in costumes and go trick-or-treating, among other things. The internet and social media have made it a big deal in countries that never celebrated it before.
Having grown up in Delhi, my only association with Halloween was attending the costume birthday parties of a friend born on this date. Recent years have witnessed a surge in clubs and restaurants hosting Halloween parties, to cash in on its novelty. I was invited to a couple of big-ticket Halloween parties; some of which required an application to get an invite; and some which had a strict dress code! I skipped them all, and really enjoyed the holiday in its true essence.
All set for trick-or-treating!
This was the first time my one and a half year old participated, so the celebrations were more about him. He was invited to a Halloween party with his playgroup mates, and a neighbourhood round of trick-or-treating. The excitement had been building up for some time. I searched for costumes online, but finally got one from a local costume shop.
As my son is inordinately fond of the peacocks that live in our neighbourhood, I thought he’d love to be one. Unfortunately, he’s just learnt how to be assertive, and he refused to wear the costume! Many tears and much coaxing later, we missed the party he was invited to, and made it for trick-or-treating in the nick of time. He finally wore an Italian jersey, and I donned some easy-peasy Minnie Mouse ears.
The trick-or-treating in our neighbourhood was organized by an enterprising lady. She got about 10-12 families to participate. Everyone collected at one place, dressed in their costumes; and walked a specified route over the next hour and a half, collecting candy. The children varied from 1.5 to 10 years of age, and each had at least one parent accompanying them, many in costume themselves. We were quite a large crowd and the sense of community was strong.
Many houses put in an extra effort with decorations, including balloons, fake pumpkins and scary plastic toys; one house even incorporating creepy sound effects! For our house, we bought two large pumpkins (kadu’s) and carved them out in the traditional style to make jack-o-lanterns. Every house had candy on offer, which the kids readily lapped up.
At the end of the night, a photo captured this strange light. A friendly ghost joining the festivities?!
My son was a bit overwhelmed with all the activity and people, but every time he realized there were chocolates on offer, he would fight his way through the best of them!! Celebrating Halloween in Delhi has been criticized by a few, as it’s not an Indian holiday. I’d like to remind them of the Indian spirit of inclusivity, which sets us apart from the rest of the world. It was a day of many firsts for my family and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves!
Festival rating: 4/5