Halloween Night was a sad affair in this part of Kansas. The cold made it close to impossible for monsters to come banging on our door in search of candy, and probably that’s a good thing. Who wants monsters standing at their door?
We knew that this holiday was always going to be a hard paper. Back home in Uganda, when the papers carried pictures of people dressed up in their competitively scary costumes, it was always the same statement: “Eh, didn’t know it was Halloween last night!”
I never really got used to the idea that people can go out to celebrate the holiday, especially seeing as it attracted only pretenders. If people in the West have this fascination with ghosts and devils and they think their children should learn about them early on in life, well, I never saw that becoming a serious Ugandan affair.
Mentions of the origins of the day would inspire ear worms of that musician from Somalia who sang of the jokes that African American gangsters peddle when they go on about how they are hardened by the streets of Compton. If they wanted to see real hard knocks, they should live a month in Mogadishu, he told them in many words.
Same principle here. Coming from a culture that glorifies animism, I bet many Africans look on the jokes that go on every October 31 and sigh with impatience. Back home, the ghouls are for real; talk about spooky things happening at a distance; child sacrifice and demon possession were never something to joke about or to wear costumes about. That’s the real Halloween.
So I drove home trying to be extra careful not to run over any crazed child running into the road thinking everyone is possessed by the spirit of Halloween.
The little people in our home did not even bother to whine about being let out because they knew there would not be any of that at home. They had Winnie the Pooh and Princess Anna costumes but that was just about it. They wore them to the church do that the Pastor organized earlier in the week.
It was funny to see how a culture can be thoroughly entrenched. At work, everyone, except moi, brought a dish and then when they’d all served up on the goodies, they sat in the boardroom to talk all things Halloween.
I was trying to beat a deadline so I didn’t sit in on the conversations, but I really wanted to. Just to know what kind of talk is done by people who have been brought up in the Halloween culture. Well, I guess there are other chances for that.
The weather had other ideas though. It had already been predicted that in the evening, we would have temperatures as low as 42 degrees Fahrenheit but at the end of the day, we were doing 38. That was definitely not a good encouragement for trick-or-treating.