Halloween happens to be one of my favorite Western “holidays.” Who doesn’t like assuming a new (and creative) identity for a few hours once a year? On this particular All-Hallows Eve, I tried long and hard to find a costume other than a typical Halloween get-up (devil, ghost, ladybug, cowgirl, etc.). However, this proved increasingly difficult in a country that doesn’t celebrate, understand, or care about this peculiar Western tradition of men and women traipsing around bars and parties in often frightening/idiotic/promiscuous outfits. After some quick research HERE, I decided that the “Holiday House” was my best bet of finding a costume in this town. But this same thought must have occurred to the other 149,000 Shanghai-nese expats, because Holiday House was mobbed, picked-over and teeming with disgruntled Western customers and tired local clerks. After an excruciating 4 minutes in that store, I grabbed the first horns and tail that I saw and made a run for it.
Consequently, my Halloween costume this year was the ever-so-generic….devil. (SIGH) Trying to put some spin on it, I integrated American flag paraphernalia into my costume to become a “foreign devil” (a term arising in China after the first Westerners came to settle). Asking my Chinese friend if this would be culturally insensitive, she laughed and retorted: “first of all, you’re making fun of yourself and second, good luck finding any local that gets it or cares.”
In any case, my generic costume and I spent this 31st of October on a night cruise of the Huangpu River. Consisting of an open bar, a live band and a 3-story river boat with 4 outside decks, Halloween in Shanghai turned out to be a blast. The city may not celebrate this made-up holiday, but cruising along the river with the rest of the westeren/international crowd bedecked in our foolish garb, it really felt like one of the most authentic Halloween’s I’ve ever had. Take a look at the city-scape below and it’s easy to see why.
Click HERE for the full Halloween album.