There was a time Halloween wasn’t really big on the consciousness of Filipinos. Of course, we know what Halloween is — but we just never observed it at home, at school, or at work. After all, it isn’t our holiday. We do have a November 1 All Saints’ Day (similar to the Day of the Dead) tradition, where kids would go around the neighborhood singing a cryptic jingle about kaluluwa (souls) in return for small change. But it’s not even close to the Halloween trick-or-treating that we get to see on American popular culture.
But something changed over the past few decades, I think. Perhaps it’s due to the mall culture where stores would put up “Halloween Sale” here and there and then deck their shops with grim and macabre decor that suits the theme of the sale. Or the filthy rich Americanized-oligarchs that observe Halloween fun within the confines of their gated villages. Halloween started creeping in to the local mainstream psyche. Even at the companies that I’ve worked for in the past decade or so, office folks spend an inordinate amount of time trying to decorate their workstations to conform to the Halloween mood. People would bring their kids to work, trick-or-treating people at the office with such vigor you’d think Halloween was made for them.
Our office team was not spared. We had to at least try decorate our own space or risk being branded as uncooperative. Fortunately for our small team, we have a couple of younger members who are energetic enough to take the lead in turning our work area into something more attuned to this spooky Western Christian (pagan, actually) holiday.