Chinese parents with children in kindergarten have been struggling with ways to make their pumpkins and costumes for Halloween more creative as their schools have been demanding that they do, which has provoked yet another public debate on celebrating western festivals in China.
Several parents interviewed by the Global Times on Tuesday voiced their concerns over celebrating these alien holidays without explaining the history of them and the traditions to children, and over how kindergartens organizing these celebrations are helping a business that targets children.
Yu Shengyuan, the father of a 5-year-old who is in a private kindergarten in Yizhuang, Beijing, said that his son's kindergarten celebrated Halloween by having its teachers in colorful clothing handing out candies to the kids.
"The children were asked to bring a decorated pumpkin and to wear a costume so I bought my son a pumpkin lantern and an Ultraman costume online. Last year, I bought a Captain America," Yu told the Global Times.
A search for Children's Halloween costumes on China's online shopping platform taobao.com resulted in nearly 5,000 items on Tuesday, with most costumes costing around 100 yuan ().
But the business is not just limited to kindergartens, since Halloween celebrations are also spreading to residential communities.
Zhou Taixi, the father of a 4-year-old, in Beijing, said that his community's property management company organized celebrations for families with kids, and even took the kids around to knock on the doors of their neighbors for a "trick-or-treat experience.
"The children only knocked on the doors of families who had signed up for the celebration, so they didn't disturb other people," Zhou explained.
The word "Halloween" on Sina Weibo had drawn over 1.7 billion hits and 2.8 million comments as of press times, with many posting selfies adorned with scary makeup.
However, some netizens were calling for a boycott of all western festivals and saying that Chinese traditions have been dropping in popularity while western festivals get more popular.
One serious response came in 2014, when education authorities in the city of Wenzhou, East China's Zhejiang Province called for a ban on any Christmas-related events at all the city's schools, the Beijing Times reported.