Halloween a fun festival because we've made it so
Halloween in Hong Kong has become an industry, a thriving business and an entertainment opportunity that generates hundreds of millions of dollars. It derives from a Christian religious festival, and some devout churchgoers and the more staid members of our society frown upon and sometimes even decry the trick-or-treating by children, ghoulish costumes, scary movies and partying that have come to mark the occasion.
Whatever its roots, many people have turned it into a time to let their hair down. We should give them every chance to have fun.
The occasion has evolved, after all, unlike other dates on the calendar. It's not about being with family, giving presents, honouring ancestors or celebrating an historic event. A fervent local belief in ghosts has been mixed into the celebration style we've borrowed from Americans to create a moment that is especially Hong Kong - making it as local an event as anything else on the calendar.
In such circumstances, it's inevitable that money-making comes into play. Theme parks put on attractions, fancy-costume companies go into overdrive and bars, restaurants and clubs roll out themed drinks, menus and events. Every shop, no matter what it sells, seems to have a Halloween-related product. It's impossible to avoid.
There are, of course, the squeamish. Witches, ghouls, ghosts and the like can be frightening to the young.
Some of the attire worn can be provocative and may be viewed with distaste among those of us who are more traditional. We have to remember, though, that Halloween is all about fantasy and enjoyment; no harm is meant.
And that's what we have to keep in mind as the evening approaches. For some, there's money to be made, for others, it's the party of the year or the most enjoyable of scares. There's a serious side for some in our community and that has to be respected. But generally, Hong Kong has turned Halloween into a time for fun, and for those so inclined we have to give them their space.