An Asian American Halloween Story

With Halloween just around the corner, I have to admit that October 31st has never been one of my favorite holidays. That opinion would probably be a surprise to most Asian American kids. I mean, what’s not to like about Halloween? You get candy and you get to pretend you’re someone else. The story of why I don’t like Halloween started when my parents first brought me (and my siblings) over the United States. I came to the U.S. before I turned 3, which for most kids is the age they start to learn that Halloween means candy and lots of it, but for me, my family didn’t participate in the Halloween ritual, which was bizarre and unknown to my parents.

So it was no surprise that by the time I started kindergarten, I still had no idea how Halloween was celebrated or why a child would want to participate. My kindergarten teacher probably told all the kids to wear a costume to school, but I missed that announcement, or maybe she didn’t ask us to wear one, just expecting all the kids would naturally dress up. I mean really – who living in America with a small child wouldn’t know to have their child wear a Halloween costume to school? So when my mom asked me if I needed a costume for school, I naturally said no, not having any idea why I would need one. As it turned out, I was the only 5 year old kindergartner to show up to school without a costume.

My teacher asked me why I didn’t have one, and I had no explanation, so I started to cry, like any 5 year old would. The kids started the costume parade and party without me. I got taken to the school office and somehow, eventually someone found a Winnie the Pooh costume in a back closet of one of the classrooms. My teacher hurriedly got me dressed up, and out to join the rest of the kids, after most of the activity had already ended. I guess I was traumatized by the event, and for me, Halloween fell into disfavor. As a result, from then on, I never really participated in it like other kids did.

So why am I telling you this sad tale? First don’t let it happen to your child. Let them participate in Halloween and have them start from an early age (my daughter lives for Halloween and Easter; she considers them the “candy” holidays). Secondly, I had to find some way to use the wonderful photo of our editor Ernie in his Winnie the Pooh outfit. And if you’re still looking for a Halloween costume, don’t forget Moye recently shared the Top 8 Halloween Costumes for Asian Americans.

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About Tim

I'm a Chinese/Taiwanese-American, born in Taiwan, raised on Long Island, went to college in Philadelphia, tried Wall Street and then moved to the California Bay Area to work in high tech in 1990. I'm a recent dad and husband. Other adjectives that describe me include: son, brother, geek, DIYer, manager, teacher, tinkerer, amateur horologist, gay, and occasional couch potato. I write for about 5 different blogs including 8Asians. When not doing anything else, I like to challenge people's preconceived notions of who I should be.
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