If anyone out there needs one more proof that globalization is here, I suggest he or she goes around Metro Manila’s exclusive villages and malls this weekend. Of course, it is easier to simply go into a Pinoy-bashing mode and say that the Halloween frenzy is more a result of the Filipino’s inherent copycat tendencies. But I prefer to ascribe it to globalization – we now celebrate Halloween in Metro Manila because it is no longer a Western thingy – it is now celebrated across the world. Blame it on CNN, blame it on expats, blame it on movies.

So come Saturday, expect kids in costumes to flock to the malls with their orange plastic pumpkin bags. Expect them to holler "crick or creak" or variations thereof to the store personnel in exchange for some cheap candies the total value of which will not even come close to 1/10th of the parking fee their parents have to fork up for the visit to the mall. Forget the cost of the costumes, forget the fact that the whole family will have to drop by Jollibee for snacks and Dad’s for buffet, and forget the fact that Mom will probably have to do some shopping done to while away the time while the kids do their thing. And before you accuse me of being such a spoilsport, let me hasten to add that I will probably be there as well lugging around the tots in the house and enjoying every single thing I am ranting about in this blog.

I am told that at Ayala Alabang, some families spend more for Halloween decors than for Christmas decors. Hmmm… I don’t blame them. Halloween offers more, how shall I say this, opportunities for creativity and fun. I was told one particular house rents a real casket and displays it in front of their house every year. Maybe they should consider buying one permanently although I am not sure storing a coffin in your garage for Halloween is good for anyone’s mental health.

I pass by Valle Verde on the way home from work everyday and today I noticed that they have started to decorate the gate of the village with scarecrows and…doll soldiers. No kidding. Over at Medical Towers Makati, they have a similar "installation art" but at least the soldier is made to look like a ghost from World War I. Maybe they are trying to be relevant; maybe what they are saying is that soldiers today are just as scary as ghosts. Whatever.

But seriously, when I was a kid growing up in the province, we did have this tradition on the eve of all saints day. We did not garb ourselves in silly costumes or anything like that, but the idea was to do some mischief for and on behalf of the dear departed. The usual modus operandi was for groups to serenade a family as decoy while someone does some mischief like stealing chicken, or fruits, or spraying paint on the fence. But when I reached puberty, the tradition had sort of died already. It simply wasn’t safe anymore, one could get shot while doing the mischief and well, it simply wasn’t worth it.

And so this weekend, see you at Malate and Makati. But please, enough already of the Mulawin costumes.


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