Flickr: http://tinyurl.com/ybebxho2

First October

Flickr: http://tinyurl.com/ybebxho2

It seems people are fond of this time of year. “October” is what they call it. I also hear it being called Autumn and Halloween. Why are there so many names to describe just one  month I wonder?It doesn’t matter – let’s see what this October phenomenon has to offer, and why it is so widely celebrated here. 

I check my watch. 7:30pm, 31st October. Halloween. The last day of October. 

Walking around the residential areas, I see little people in large groups strolling about, not looking very… human-like. You see, the humans I have come to know generally tend to wear jeans, shirts, and coats at this time of year. However, on this particular evening, some are prancing around the streets looking like witches, pirates and skeletons. Others look like cats and various other animals. It doesn’t seem they are very committed to their roles though; I hear that cats like to walk on all fours, yet these children walk on twos, like they always do. They’re even talking normally. Aren’t cats just meant to ‘meow? And aren’t pirates meant to yell ‘arrr‘ at everything? (Talk about bad acting. They do dress the part, though.)  

In fact, as I watch them carefully, they seem more focused on going door-to-door, to houses decorated with glowing pumpkins with carved faces. (They tend to stay away from the darker looking ones, which is understandable since they have no lights on, let alone any fancy decorations.) Once the inhabitants of the house open the door, the children proceed to scream, ‘TRICK-OR-TREAT!’ at a decibel whereby their brethren from several other parallel universes can faintly hear their echoing shrieks. Then they take the host’s chocolate, or other sweet treats, stuffing them into their own bags. Isn’t this stealing? Are they robbing these people? Are the people who have darker houses scared that these children might hold them at gunpoint, as they demand treats from them? Should be afraid? Wait, what? It’s tradition? A strange one if you ask me. Not even we have traditions like that where I’m from. And people call us weird. Are those creepy looking dark houses part of this tradition too? Is that why they look so scary?  

Nevertheless, at a second glance, it seems both parties are quite jovial. Actually, there are multiple groups of children going around the neighbourhood doing the same thing, in different costumes. Some are even being chaperoned by older people. They don’t seem as enthusiastic though. It is an interesting sight. I wonder if everyone is doing this. 

Leaving the residential areas, I wander into the nearby high street. All the shops and newsagents are closed (I’ll tell you about my experience with those another time). Only a single coffee shop is open. I peer into the slightly yellow tinted window – these people aren’t dressed up at all (yet the coffee shop itself is filled with pumpkin decorations, much like the houses I described earlier). The people in there are much older than the children I saw. They are wearing normal clothes, sipping drinks, doing individual activities. Some are slumped on the sofas reading books, some vigorously typing on their laptops, while others merely look out of the window, listening to music through their headphones. It is a regular evening for them it seems – even the coffee shop is more festive than them. It looks like not everyone celebrates after all.  

I begin to walk back. As I learn more about this season, I am coming to appreciate the October atmosphere. The fallen, dried-up leaves from the molting trees (of numerous shades of red, orange and yellow) are crunching beneath my feet as I walk along the pavement. Since the ground is covered with them the noise is constant. But it’s a nice noise. I wish I could hear it all the time. I look up at the clear night sky. It’s a starry night; there are lots of small, white dots scattered across the void that is the dark blue sky. This is what the night sky looks like here.  

This view and the musky scent in the air oddly fits the Pumpkin Spice Latte that I’m sipping. (I forgot to mention – I went into the coffee shop and got it. It seems like even drinks are themed for this season). There is a cool breeze in the air; the drink warms up my insides, followed with a satisfying tingling sensation, as if my body is thanking me. The paper cup is also warm, so I don’t need to worry about my hands getting cold. I suppose this is what people call an ‘Autumn vibe’. At least, people on the internet.  

All in all, it appears this day – “Halloween”- is the most celebrated…  

No? What was that? Christmas, you say?  

Perhaps I should come back for that. 

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