We depend on rich expats worldwide for this one.
PRAGUE, Czech Republic- “Americans have a lot of dumb traditions but this one is actually cool,” spoke a teenage girl standing in the street wearing a princess costume.
How she arrived at her conclusion that out of all of our traditions going out in public dressed up in costumes bumming candy was the least dumb I will never know, but the fact that we were standing in the outskirts of Prague, in a country a good way towards the other side of the world, doing some legit trick or treating was pretty cool.
My two girls like Halloween. They like to get dressed up and run through the streets with masses of other little kids. They like candy.
However, Halloween isn’t really a celebration that much of the world organically celebrates. So when it comes to Halloween we depend on rich expatriates.
It has become a phenomenon: wealthy expatriate communities opening up their neighborhoods for trick or treating on Halloween. They generally live in new housing tracks or urban developments that look exactly like US suburbs that were constructed over the past five or ten years in emerging markets all over the globe to attract high end talent. Once hunkered down within these palisades of internationalism, these people bring their culture with them. At some point someone gets the great idea: hey, let’s have Halloween!
Then all of a sudden these communities that are normally physically and socially far removed from the countries they are positioned in open up their gates and costumed trick or treaters from all over the city rush in — kind of like how the King of Brunei welcomes commoners into his palace once per year.
Last year, we had Halloween in Singapore. We went out to this super rich area chock full of Americans and pillaged their candy.
Halloween in Singapore:
This year, we went out to the Nebusice neighborhood of Prague. My wife read somewhere that they were hosting Halloween this year. We rode an Uber up through dark, tree-enshrouded hills, seemingly going far out of the city.
“Where are we going?” I turned around from the front seat and asked my wife.
She shrugged. She had no idea.
The Uber turned off into what seemed like a suburban village and came to a stop. The streets were dark. Nobody was anywhere. So this is Halloween in Prague?
We got out anyway, and just stood on the street for a moment looking around. It wasn’t necessarily late at night but nothing was open. Hardly even any cars were moving by us. My kids were dressed up in costumes — Petra was a wolf woman with a knife through her head and Rivka was a princess — looking like dumbasses. My wife declared her plan a bust.
Then we saw a gaggle of be-costumed kids run by. Follow them!
They lead us into this obscure and virtually palisaded track community with huge single family houses with garages. It was US suburbia copy and pasted onto the outskirts of Prague. The streets were full of trick or treaters. People from all over the city were running through their lanes and cul-de-sacs. The giant homes were decorated. It was a legit Halloween.
We lilive iin an era where cultures arare becoming so similar that they can seamlessly absorb the traditions of others ands within harhardly a generation unintentionally claim them for themselves. Lines between countries and cultures and people are blurred and nobody knows who we are anymore. Frolicking in the global soup.