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Time for Halloween Parties?

Posted October. 22, 2002 23:10,   


Kim, a 32-year-old mom of two little children living in Jamwon-dong, Seocho-gu, recently heard from her 3-year-old daughter about a Halloween party in the kindergarten. Halloween is an American holiday for children when they dress up like ghosts and devils for fun.

She got worried about where she could get the costume for her daughter. She didn’t need to. She soon found a wide variety of Halloween costumes in a large U.S. chain store.

October 31st `Halloween Day` is, in fact, fast spreading into the public as one of `imported holidays` along with the Valentine Day. Most kindergartens teaching English are busy preparing parties. Hotels and fancy restaurants are also pitching on `Halloween promotions,` decorating shops with ghost-like costumes and pumpkins.

˝We have seen sales more than double every year since 1996, ˝ said Lee Sung-suk, a businessman who runs an Internet shopping mall selling Halloween items. He said that orders are flowing in not only from hotels and restaurants but also from individuals looking for pirate, devil dress, luminous bones and hip-shaped toys.

An kindergarten located in Gangnam, Seoul said that they ˝asked parents to prepare Halloween costumes for their children˝ and ˝to place candies in hand on the day to hand them out to children in Halloween dress. ˝

Critics point to that the syndrome came from the tendency for cultural subordination. ˝Our children hardly know about our tradition of eating rice and bean porridge on Dongji day, yet they are crazy about Halloween, ˝ said Shim Sook-young, child education professor at Sookmyung Women’s University. ˝It’s not desirable to teach little children more about foreign cultures than our own. ˝

Halloween is a fun day for children originated from the ancient Celtic ritual of worshiping the god of death. On Oct. 10 every year, children disguise themselves in scary dress and visit neighbors to ask for cookies and candies.

Sun-Woo Kim sublime@donga.com