I have happy (candy) memories of trick-or-treating as a kid. We canvassed neighbours in The Arcadia with our high-pitched half-hearted threats, then retreated to exchange our sweet haul.
Now, the festivities in Singapore have been ramped up at the American expat neighbourhood of Woodgrove Estate in Woodlands.
There are 6 main ways you can dress for the task:
- cute (anything furry, or see below*)
- pop culture referencing (Superman, Spiderman, Ironman; a Pokemon; Harry Potter character; Sesame Street character)
- dress-up trope (“Red Indian”, policeman, fireman, military personnel, pirate, witch, wizard)
- nerdy (Minecraft character)
*But if you’re below the age of 2 years, you’ll end up in the third category, no matter how hard you try:
At Woodgrove, a housing agent was seizing the opportunity to dole out free orange balloons (with their name and contact details of course), fresh popcorn, pink candy floss. Little wizards, witches, ninja turtles, boys with knives through their heads were patiently queuing for these treats:
Thus fortified, the hordes then continued on to open homes. At some, the owners or their children handed out the treats themselves. Other households had maids or even hired men doing the work while they sat and watched the proceedings:
These were the best dressed hosts I thought – a man with his head in a box and his bloodied zombie bride:
The Woodgrove households have been kind and rather generous in inviting all and sundry to partake of the festivities. They probably wouldn’t want to lay down rules, but with the crowds almost reaching the thousands, a few pointers wouldn’t go amiss – because where the free stuff is, the Ugly
Singaporean Person isn’t far behind:
- dress up! Even if you’re there to chaperone a kid. I heard one frustrated host refuse to give candy to someone in t-shirt and shorts, saying,”At least try to make an effort!” Each individual makes up the crowd. Each person contributes to the fun atmosphere, so don’t just turn up in normal clothes. Rise to the occasion!
- be polite! Greet each host (“Trick or Treat!” “Happy Halloween!”) and commend them on their costume or house decor. Say thank you. Don’t grab sweets from their tub unless they ask you to. It’s not a free-for-all buffet. Throw sweet wrappers and other rubbish in the many bins around.
- give way! There were at least two people on wheelchairs who couldn’t seem to get through the crowds. Don’t be kiasu lah, just give way to them. There were lots of older kids lazing in prams though, which was a little unfortunate since they could walk. This led to a lot of people’s feet being run over and generally hampered traffic flow.
Minecraft in pixelated glory (see instructions here). Boxy head also useful for containing the night’s haul:
Cool people-riding-things costumes:
Other snapshots from a jaunt around the estate. Loads of fun!
But how can a Christian celebrate Halloween, someone might ask.
Well, of all people, a Christian can best celebrate Halloween with a light heart, without superstition or fear! In its Singaporean form, the dead are not honoured nor prayed for at Halloween, nor is Satan or any demon worshipped.
If anything, dressing up as pretend-scary people, or getting splattered with fake blood, or paying good money (for charity, of course) to enter a haunted house thumbs the nose at the powers of darkness and death.
A child of God isn’t afraid of the powers of darkness, because the Son of God has triumphed over them when he died on the cross. The prince of darkness, the Devil, has no hold over us.
13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Colossians 1:13-14)
15 He disarmed the [demonic] rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him. (Colossians 2:15)
20 The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. (Romans 16:20)
And though the Christian still dies, he/she does not approach death with morbid fear, because the Christian is assured that his/her Lord has gone before him/her. And will, on the Last Day defeat death, so that all who trust in Jesus will rise again to new and eternal life.
24 Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27 For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.”(1 Corinthians 15:24-27)
11 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. 13 And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. 14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:11-15)
This does not mean that Christians dismiss the Devil as myth though. Rather, we understand that Satan works not in a sweaty sweet-hording festival but in every day life; in tempting us to sin against God and by encouraging us not to acknowledge God as God, or submit to his Son as Lord.
8 Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. 9 No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God. (1 John 3:8-9)