This year we had an intersting and unplanned quick trip to the States for a funeral but it also happened to be at the time of Reformation Sunday and Trick or Treating.
While Halloween is growing in popularity in Japan it is far from the "everybody does it" feeling we had in the US. I'm not a fan of the "holiday" and choose not to celebrate it. However, like we do with many Japanese religion-influenced customs, I try to find a way for my kids to still experience the general custom but with our own take on the meaning.
We read books like the "Pumpkin Gospel", play dress-up and talk about Reformation Day & All Saints Day. Zilla is reaching the point he can figure out some of the US customs from what he seems on Disney Channel and other TV shows so he has started to ask more detailed questions but they mainly focus on wanting to go collect candy or try bobbing for apples.
One thing I never thought my kids would experience during their childhood is Trick or Treating. This year they did for probably the first/last time.
It just so happened that Grandma made matching cowboy/cowgirl dress-up clothes for the cousins over summer. It just happened that Walmart had matching boots in their sizes (which we picked up on the way from the airport!) and it just happened that we would all be together on the afternoon of trick-or-treating. So, to Zilla's extreme joy, Mega's growing understanding and the yougest one's initial confusion we loaded up the little red wagon and went to greet the neighbors while collecting candy which they so kindly offered. It was a fun way to greet some of the neighbors I haven't really seen in years.
One of the things which pleasently surprised me was seeing Zilla and Mega get as excited about handing out candy as going door-to-door to collect candy. They took great joy in guessing what the various costumes were and talking to the visitors. They will probably forever remember the "robot" who came first even though it was just a preteen boy wearing regular clothes with a box on his head. If you listen to their version of the story you'd think a transformer or Buzz Lighyear had showed up in person!
While I'm still not a fan of the Halloween I am glad the kids had a chance to experience part of it. It is a part of their cultural herritage and that is a valuable thing.