5 Tips For Halloween Abroad

October is here! So, bring on the pumpkin spice, cozy sweaters, and Halloween candy. If Halloween happens to fall on your list of favorite holidays ever, then you might be a little disappointed to learn that not every country is as zombie and ghoul crazed as America.

HalloweenThe amount of hype varies from country to country for the fun-filled day of barely-there costumes and poisonous libations. Do some research on Halloween in your country and try to find areas, western bars, or festivals that will help you get your spook on.

When celebrating Halloween – or any holiday, really – in another country, it’s important to keep the culture, etiquette, and social rules in mind so that you don’t accidentally offend anyone. Keep to these 5 helpful tips to have a great (and safe) Halloween this year.

1. Be sensitive to the culture you’re in

Be careful about teaching Halloween customs and rituals or throwing a Halloween party for your students at school. Not every culture celebrates (or cares to learn about) Halloween, so be sure you get the go-ahead from a lead teacher or principal at your school before you decide to start teaching kids about ghosts, zombies, and vampires – and this is doubly true if you work at an elementary.

2. Stay away from offensive costumes

When you’re picking out a costume, it’s generally unwise to choose one that makes fun of the country you’re residing in or visiting. Some costumes that I’ve seen and thought were insensitive were old ajummas or ajoshis in South Korea, Chinaman in Taiwan, and drunken businessman in Korea.

In addition to being completely uncreative, these costumes are just hurtful to people and their culture.

3. Be careful when partying

I’m not sure if I’m the only one, but I always associate Halloween with overindulgence. Liquor-or-Beer and Trick-or-Treat are synonymous terms in my book. With that said, be careful when you head out to parties or bars this Halloween.

This is important in any country, but it’s especially important when you’re living in a country that isn’t your own. (And for fear of sounding like your mom, I’m going to trust that you’ll be careful and promptly move on to number 4.

4. Look online for treats

Maybe it’s candy corn you’re craving, or maybe you can’t survive the month of October without caramel and candy apples. Whatever treats you can’t find abroad, I can guarantee you’ll find it online!

The best part about getting your favorite Halloween treats delivered to you is that you can take them in and share them with your students (just be sure to get permission first and check up on any allergies).

5. Be optimistic

Halloween in the country you’re visiting might not be as grand, flashy, or exciting, and that’s okay. Take the opportunity to share your culture and customs with your new students, co-workers, and friends. Above all, remember that there will be plenty of other chances to get your horror movie and trick-or-treating fix when you go back home.

Now is the time for new experiences and adventures, so even if Halloween isn’t such a big event as you’re used to, enjoy your time abroad and be happy.

Calling all tortured souls expats, what experiences have you had abroad during Halloween? Share your horror stories, funny tales, and fun memories with other travelers in a comment below!

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