Fangs? Check! Fake blood? Check! Pitchfork? Check!
Ready for Vietnam’s kooky, oh so slightly spooky Halloween?
Halloween in Vietnam comes as a welcome relief to English teachers struggling to come up with fun lessons for exhausted, almost zombiefied students.
To local bars and art shops selling face paint; it’s a money spinner. To parents it can be a nightmare. To tenants living near party zones, it sounds like the depths of hell and those wishing for a quiet night might get spooked out.
Although Halloween is a popular young person’s party in major urban areas – it’s not really known or celebrated out in the countryside unless there’s plenty of foreigners around looking for a bit fun, which to me, is kinda interesting as country folk tend to be more superstitious.
Ghosts are no joking matter in this culture. Hence all the customs to rid households of bad spirits (accumulated bad feelings and misfortunes), and it’s sometimes mentioned by locals that photos that look dangerous, say for example someone standing under a tree during a lightning storm, could be predictors of an unusual demise.
This year’s horror fashion suggestions include motorbike ninjas with blood stains holding smartphones, ferocious female motorbike attendants with lock chains, anyone that looks like the famed ‘Joker’ from the movies or witches in mini-skirts holding magic wands.
For men looking for that special devil, get an old T-shirt and a whiteboard marker and inscribe that memorable slogan you dreamed up over a beer with your mates on the shirt.
Possible suggestions include; ‘I’ll love you as long as my bank account holds out!’ or ‘I’ve lost my horn, can you help me find it?’
Women don’t have to do that much – just smile and mingle – I’m sure it will all work out! Just be careful that your fishnet stockings don’t get entangled with the pitchfork.
Remember the first is for attracting interesting men, the second is for scaring off the sleazy ones…unless that’s what you’re into…
Washable watercolor or face paints can be purchased at the art supply shops and there are plenty of outlets selling fake wigs.
Given that the rains have arrived it might be a good idea to decorate the umbrellas with bats or spiders and do add some cobwebs to those elbows and shoes.
If you’re desperate for time and haven’t come up with anything clever – buy a conical hat and decorate that with something.
The next thing is transport. I take taxis on the night as I like a cold beer or two and don’t want to risk everything wobbling through the traffic at midnight.
This is especially true of Ho Chi Minh City, late night Danang and Hanoi – the dangers come not so much from drink-driving, but more from people being distracted by all the interesting or weird costumes instead of looking where they are going! Pedestrians, you have being warned!
One great idea and it’s really fun are to help out at kids events on the night. Vietnamese children love the dressing up, the noise and of course the food! I do recommend you check out the bakeries beforehand to see what little scary foods they might have.
And the night isn’t complete without ‘trick and treat’ sweets.
Unsurprisingly, Vietnamese mini-marts are awash in candy and nibbles for the young ones. No wonder local kids are getting fatter! Get a big selection and you’re everyone’s’ favorite person of the night. Bribing folks with candy is fun too!
One big warning is to watch out for your possessions in crowded areas. Pickpockets do a good trade in crowds and don’t leave your stuff lying around in a bar.
Sadly too, there has emerged the presence of some foreigners in recent years, who have no qualms about ‘lifting’ stuff – so it’s not always the locals to blame.
On a similar note – don’t take a motorbike taxi home late at night, use a real taxi (even if you wait longer); they are safer than some of the riders out there waiting to take advantage of drunk passengers, particularly females.
But it’s all good! Lucifer will be smiling down (up?) on you and I’m sure you’ll meet a dark, mysterious person on the night!
HAPPY HALLOWEEN EVERYONE!