Pumpkin state of mind

Either I've been spending too much time online, or Halloween has become such a big deal here.

"It has always been for a lot of us," newly-liberated Dee told me. "Always dreamed of going trick or treating as a kid. We're becoming more Westernized."

Perhaps. But I don't remember this happening when I was a kid. Is it because we're all grown up now, and we live such hectic lives, and we need to destress by wearing costumes, putting on make-up and acting like we're completely different people?

Then again, where I live, Halloween wasn't such a big deal. I don't live in those posh subdivisions where trick or treating is an annual occurrence. (I live near Ayala Alabang, but this tradition of theirs never reached me until I was in high school. Like I'd be interested. Or, like they'd let me.) The one time anything closely resembling trick or treating happened in my subdivision, we weren't even sure how to do it.

I was in elementary school then, and some of my classmates - those who were allowed to roam the streets at night - decided to go trick or treating. But their approach was completely different to what usually happens. After all, I realize now, nobody's prepared any candy to give.

So, my friends were the ones who had the candy. Armed with cheap costumes and some face paint, maybe, they went home to home - well, more of friend's home to friend's home - and gave the residents two options: trick, or treat. I was daring back then.

"Trick!" I exclaimed confidently.

"Ay, treat na lang," one of my friends said. (I still know their names, but I can't remember who were at my home that night.) "Wala na kaming pulbura."

So they showed me all the candy they had left, and invited me to get some. Either that, or they gave me pre-packed candy. That'd be more sensible, since they need to be fair to everyone.

Or maybe they didn't have any candy left. I can't remember at all.

The only other vague Halloween memory I had was when I was around ten or eleven - or maybe older - when my craft-inclined aunt compelled all her nephews and nieces to have our faces painted. I hated it. I've always hated face paint because I tend to get itchy. I know, I had to sit through that in college.

Fast forward to today. I look at my Facebook wall - yes, I do spend a lot of time online, and I have to - and I see a lot of posts about Halloween. Photos of my friends in costumes. Photos of my friends' nephews and nieces in costumes. Photos of my friends' children in costumes. Photos of my friends and their ad agency-type friends, of my friends and their high school friends, of my friends and the other kids in their posh neighborhoods, in costumes, armed with candy, anticipating going trick or treating.

Me? No, I'm not peeved. I'm not gloating. I just never experienced Halloween, except perhaps for the occasional viewing of the Magandang Gabi Bayan specials. Maybe it' because the fact that its Halloween got swallowed up by the fact that it's the semestral break.

This weekend is a long weekend. Four days. A chance to destress for everyone. Me, I'll spend Halloween this year on the way home from Baguio. No trick or treating. Just roads. And then, back to work. The long weekend is completely irrelevant to me. At least, Tuesday is.

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