If you ask me, "Is there any Hong Kong Halloween celebration?", my answer is "YES" for this generation. But if you ask me this question in 2002 or before, my answer would be "No".
Aren't these 2 pumpkins cute? You will see a lot of these cute statues in the Hong Kong Disneyland during the month of Halloween
How Was The Celebration?
Hong Kong is very well-known about adopting foreign cultures
and/or customs and twist and made them as its own. That's the
uniqueness of Hong Kong. However, it really came a long way to accept
this western festival.
Hong Kong has been celebrating the Chinese ghost festival on the 14th day of the 7th month. Why did it take so long to accept Halloween? Even right now, it is not a full-blown celebration.
Although Hong Kong people are always very open-minded, respecting the ancestors and the spirits is ingrained in the mind and flows in the blood. As a result, celebrating Halloween violates this belief which has been in the Chinese culture for thousands of years.
During my teen, there was no Hong Kong Halloween celebration at all. After graduating, there was a little progress. But it was only limited to the celebration in the Soho area. Foreigners put on Halloween costumes or a painted face. The costumes would rarely be ghosts or vampires. Yeah, it was very conservative. Many foreigners whom moved and settled in Hong Kong are always respectful to the Chinese cultures and customs.
You could hardly see any Hong Kong people would dare to put on anything for the celebration at all. They would just hang out to feel the festivities, not to mention it was a very, very small group doing so.
This is a Halloween concert in the Ocean Park Hong Kong. Having it before 2000s? Forget it....It would never happen
The Change In 2000s
By 2000s, people opened up much more than before. The Hong Kong Halloween celebration was still limit to adults in the bars.
With the coming of the new theme park in the mid-2000s, Ocean Park and Hong Kong Disneyland did ramp up their competition to a very intense level.
They started the Halloween special, like parade and haunted house. Under the influence of that, businesses out there began their Halloween campaigns, such as exhibits, Halloween costumes and special meals.
However, kids don't go around the block in the neighborhood for candies. I wonder if this will change one day. As of right now, doing that "violates" a lot of Hong Kong and Chinese cultures and customs at many, different level.
Hong Kong Halloween Celebration Now
Now, you may wonder how it's like for Hong Kong Halloween celebration nowadays....well, let's explore them.
What amazed me when I went back in Oct 2012, shopping malls, no matter what size it is, had exhibits of the Halloween theme.
In Times Squares, the exhibit was promoting the movie, The Burton's Corpse Bride. My son hated seeing that exhibit and statues when we walked pass by them, even during the day. Poor kid...he was so scared to look at them.
2 of the human-size statues in front of the Times Squares promoting the Burton's Corpse Bride. They did look scary in the eyes of a child :-)
Then, walking towards the Victoria Park, there are 2 smaller shopping malls having their own Hong Kong Halloween theme exhibits.
One blended in the Chinese haunted house theme. The other one was more kids friendly by putting up the famous Disney characters, such as Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, that they had their own Halloween costumes.
Next to those bigger-than-human-being statues, there was a section selling the children Halloween costumes. Although it was very limited to princess and other very conservative designs, this was the first for me to see in Hong Kong.
My son sure loved Donald dressed in this way for Hong Kong Halloween celebration. Actually, that is his favorite Disney character
Stores, Restaurants and Hotels
In the supermarkets, there were a few Halloween costumes. But it was not full blown like in the western countries. Then, there was a small shelf of candies not too much bigger than their regular package size. (Hong Kong people mostly buy candies during the Chinese New Year)
In certain stores and restaurants, they put up some Halloween decorations. But if you step into any Chinese restaurant, you will rarely see any decorations related to the ghosts, spirits and/or ancestors.
There is one thing very certain is that the Hong Kong Gold Coast Hotel has been doing Halloween themed family meal for the past few years. They do know that Hong Kong people love new things. So, their Hong Kong Halloween celebration is different every year.
This is the menu of a home-made ice-cream (made with liquid nitrogen) parlor. I took this pic in Oct 2012. You could barely see anything like this before 2000s
Hong Kong Disneyland
If you go to any of the theme parks, the Hong Kong Halloween celebration will kick up several notches.
The big difference is that Hong Kong Disneyland is more into the original Halloween theme. It is more about fun and the festivities.
There are a lot of Halloween-themed exhibition. You will have a lot of opportunities to take pictures with those statues and exhibits. Like all Disneyland's games and characters, you need to line up to wait for your turn. The staff give out candies to the little one throughout the park. You will not believe how much my son got. He was in heaven.
We were there in one of the Disney restaurants where they had very nice presentation of the dishes with the Halloween theme.
They also have Halloween parade which is only be held at night.
They give out candies at night during the month of Halloween in Hong Kong Disneyland. My son was so happy to get them. They are actually marshmallow stuffed with strawberry jelly. Y.U.M.M.Y.....
Ocean Park Hong Kong
On the other side of the city, Ocean Park Hong Kong has a very different approach. It blended in the Chinese and/or Asian scary theme.
To be honest with you, people have chicken guts like me definitely will not step into those haunted houses at all. Many of them looked so scary and bloody that I dared not to take any picture so that I can sleep at night. I know..I know....you may be laughing very hard at me right now. But I can't help myself.
I was so shocked that some of the exhibits totally violate the Chinese traditions.
It took a lot out of me to take this pic in the Ocean Park. This is a replica of how Chinese worship their ancestors. I am a very superstitious person. When I heard my hubby to ask my son to sit over there to take a pic. I almost yelled to tell him "NO"
Differences between the 2 Theme Parks
There are differences on the tickets between these 2 theme parks.
Hong Kong Disneyland let you pay the tickets that last for a full-day visit until they close for the day.
However, Ocean Park requires you to pay what they call the "night pass". Then, you can have the opportunity to enjoy the Hong Kong Halloween celebration from 7-11pm.
These 2 theme parks start to sell their Halloween tickets 2-3 months before the festival. Ocean Park Hong Kong is the most popular one in the last few years. Tickets sold out very early and quickly. My youngest sister has been in their Halloween event since they started.
On the way out of Ocean Park, I purposefully turned around to take this pic. Look at how enthusiastic of the crowd is for the Hong Kong Halloween celebration
If you don't want to spend too much money in the theme parks, go to the Soho area to enjoy the festival. There will be a lot of Hong Kong police force in that area for security reason due to a tragic accident happened one year.
No matter where you go, just be cautious and always play safely. Then, you will be fine and have good memories with you all time. Hong Kong Halloween celebration is definitely one of the events that you want to be there to feel it. It is very different in the western countries. But it blended in some Hong Kong factors which is so unique that you will never forget for the rest of your life.
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