Happy Haunting in the Lair

Trip Start Sep 01, 2008
Trip End Dec 14, 2008

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Sunday, November 2, 2008

Halloween has arrived in China!  As a fairly profitable holiday, Halloween is slowly creeping into the new capitalistic society of China. 

Last week, we found a Halloween stall at the Pearl Market that had hundreds of masks and wigs as well as about 50 costumes to choose from.  Every costume was different, which leads me to believe that these costumes were either individually sent from the United States (Chinese relative in the States?) or individually smuggled out of a factory.  Among these, there were several Disney princess costumes, a witch costume, a salsa dancer costume, a female pirate costume, and a belly dancer costume.  Unfortunately, the saleswoman refused to sell each costume for less than 200 RMB (that's a little more than $30), so we left empty-handed.  She must have known she had the only Halloween store around.
Later, I went to Carrefour and found a tiny section that sold Halloween decorations and costume accessories.  And by tiny, I mean two stands, each no taller than five feet and wider than 2 feet, worth of things.  I thought the most interesting there were the Chinese lanterns decorated as jack-o-lanterns.
On Halloween, no one was dressed up during the daytime and, when we went out fully decked out in our outfits at about 6 pm, everyone stared, pointed, and laughed (quite loudly, in fact).  Our first stop was the Peking University Halloween Party, which started at 7 pm.  When we got there at about 7:30 pm, we were told that we would have to wait because the room was full.  Despite the suspicious lack of the sound of music coming from the building, I anticipated walking into a packed, dimly lit room full of cheerful PKU students.  Instead, I walked into a brightly lit room where everyone was sitting at desks that were lined along the edges of the room.  The hostess was giving out masks to everyone.  Someone was talking into a microphone and, before I knew it, we were whisked up to the front to stand with the handful of Chinese students who were in costumes.  I think the most creative costume was someone dressed up as a card. 

After a round of applause for us, the music started - but it was country music (in English)!  The hostess assured us that they had "real music" playing earlier, but that it had gotten too hot, so they would play more "real music" later on in the night.  After 15 minutes, the music cut out again and a performer was brought out.  A few PKU students also volunteered to sing a solo while everyone sat back at their desks and watched.  After that, for the rest of the party (which ended at the late hour of 9 pm), they played Latin music.  However, they never turned off the lights.  In fact, at one point, the lights were half-off, but then a couple started dancing too close together/scandalously, so the music quickly turned off and the lights went back on.

I was actually surprised that there were a handful of boys and girls dancing together.  Of course, there was a substantial number of people standing along the edge of the dance floor and just watching, but I saw more than a few boys asking girls to dance!  Someone in my group described the party as a middle school dance, which I would say is fairly accurate.

Then, we went to the club (Mix), which usually has a cover charge of 50 RMB per person.  However, the club had some Halloween decorations and thus decided that a few big spiders on the columns inside and some hanging ghouls justified charging 200 RMB per person as the door price!  Inside, there was a decent amount of Chinese people dressed up - mostly with masks and with bunny ears or devil horns.  I only saw two Chinese girls dressed up in excessively inappropriate outfits.  The club played Thriller and had fake snow falling at some points during the night!
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sandyho on

Hi from Chicago
Hi Jess...we miss you alot...sounds like you are having a blast. You are obviously taken advantage of all the social opportunities (thank God you are stepping away from the books!!)and enjoying yourself. Love the Halloween stories...we too had our traditional 'Open House' in Homewood , IL and had kids over for food and treats. I think we may have had more 'funky' dancing in our house than you did at that MIX club...love the 'middle school' dance analogy..Scott probably would've loved it since he's now into hip-hop...yes , he's spinning on his head (grabbing his groin) which is probably scandalous in terms of China's opinion of proper social manners. I am surprised that Halloween has impacted China but would be shocked if Thanksgiving is practiced...capitalism at its finest...imagine
'Peking Turkey'' We miss you...maybe we can skype on the 27th...Caity's 21st birthday too. We'll be at Goo Goo's house....enjoy your time,its flying by fast. Take care ...love,- Sum Sum

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