HAILEYSTONES: Howl-idays

FOR most people, Halloween is associated with things that go bump in the night. Because it’s such a human trait to be attracted to things that remain a mystery to you, it’s not surprising that an entire holiday is associated with things that are creepy and scary and sometimes just downright gross. How trick-or-treating became part of Halloween, however, is something that I always wonder about. Does the sugar rush help you when you’re being scared out of your mind?

The thing with holidays here in the Philippines is that no other occasion is as grand and drawn out as Christmas. If you have been to a mall sometime in the past week, you would know that they already brought out the Christmas trees and the baubles and the covers of classic caroling tunes blasting out of the speakers. So, usually, spooky pumpkins usually have to share shelf space with tiny Santa figurines and miniature replicas of the birth of Baby Jesus.

Kids seem to enjoy the holiday more than adults do, which is sad. Fairy princesses look cute if you’re, say, five years old. It’s a little weird to think of an adult doing the same thing, and so you need to put some thought into your costumes. When it’s Christmas, you don’t even need costumes. There is the requisite need to perform for all your relatives, as well as the need to attend Simbang Gabi at least once.

In comparison, where can you even go trick or treating in this city? Aside from those who live in the gated communities, of course. Heck, I want to go trick-or-treating, but I can’t pass for a ten year old anymore. It’s been three years that I’ve been dressing like a Mexican immigrant because I don’t have any other costumes lying around the house. I can probably stencil in a fake mustache for added effect, but it’s just the same old thing.

It’s so strange how our Pinoy obsession with Christmas, no matter how lovable, makes it harder to enjoy other holidays. Poor Halloween. Just for once I would want to enjoy dressing up in costumes and getting candy and going to horror houses, without hearing a Christmas carol or mentions of “pre-holiday” sales. As a sitcom fan, it’s hard not to be envious of Modern Family’s Clare Dunphy and all the crazy ideas she has for celebrating Halloween.

In fact, New Year’s Eve seems to pale in comparison to Christmas as well, like a sad second cousin. We prepare for Christmas for months on end, but then just end up chilling out at home and eating “round” shaped fruits and making lots of noise on New Year’s.

The lack of firecrackers in Davao made it a lot safer, but one can’t help but to compare it to the CNN coverage of New York City and see all the people wait for the ball to drop. It’s so sad, and it’s not as if Pinoys don’t know how to plan a good party. We’re just hung up over Christmas that we still end up celebrating the holiday up until Valentine’s Day.

There are so many holidays spread throughout the year and we should celebrate these accordingly. For example, what is Araw ng Kagitingan? Few people know of it as the day of remembrance for the fall of Bataan in World War 2. It’s usually just taken as a non-working holiday and not much else.

I’ve been guilty of this, especially since I went to the Ateneo. I used to memorize all the holidays and saints’ feast days because it meant not having class, but as you get older, it becomes more than just an excuse to not go to school. For a society that puts so much pressure on not being forgotten and leaving behind a legacy, keeping holidays is one way that we can remember.

That probably explains why Christmas season takes over half of the year. It’s a time for family and for remembering blessings, and to be completely honest, Halloween candy doesn’t even compare to usual Noche Buena staples like ham and lechon.

But that doesn’t mean that dressing up in costumes and scaring people is something we should forget. Just having fun for the heck of it is something we Pinoys tend to do a lot. Any reason to celebrate, right?

Posted in Opinion