Rescuing Halloween


Troubled by loads of paperwork for a not-so-beloved government agency, I have been forgoing most of my social activities recently. Last weekend was no exception. Even though there were some fun parties going on I stayed home; although, I wasn’t so productive, but that’s another issue.

As I was sitting home and reading people’s updates on the internet, I was reminder of something good in the past which was lost. When I was a little tot, we received homemade Halloween treats from some of our neighbors; however, I was still quite young when the fear spread. Announcements were made at school about how people could put dangerous things in homemade goods. Strong recommendations against accepting them were sent out. Over a very short period, they had vanished.

Sometimes I wonder if this rumor mill was stirred up by candy manufacturers. Regardless, what we get now are just the manufactured items.

Here in Japan, knowledge of Halloween is getting around and occasionally there are parties; particularly, around English schools. Trick or Treating is still non-existant because you need widespread participation for it to catch on. Nobody is going out trick or treating if one in twenty houses will have something for them.

Ruminating during my seclusion, I think I hatched a plan to rescue homemade treats and create trick or treating in Japan (if only in a small area).

  • Step 1: get to know the neighbors – Not just the people next door, or the ones who put out their trash around the same time. Actually meet and greet everyone in the neighborhood as much as possible. Seek opportunities to talk to them. (Honestly, step one is fairly well along anyhow – due to my gregarious nature.)
  • Step 2: rally support for doing trick or treating – Starting with the families with children because they always want to learn more about international customs and they have the most to gain from participation. After that, working on the sentiments of neighbors who love to cook; especially, the ones who might enjoy a chance to learn about making something traditional from America. Finally, catching the others in a web of “everyone else is doing it”, which carries far more weight here than back home.
  • Step 3: teach, teach, teach – help everyone learn about making traditional goodies, costumes, and decorations.
  • Step 4: enjoy the fun – and follow up with encouragement the next year and the next.

Can I succeed? I have no idea. Perhaps soon we can be enjoying carameled apples, salt-water taffy, popcorn balls, spiced pumpkin bread, and so on.


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