Halloween, as we know it in the United States, involves getting dressed up in costumes, trick-or-treating and decorating pumpkins—but is this something they do in China?
Unlike Christmas where the non-religious traditions have been adopted, Halloween is a non-event for local Chinese people and it's unlikely you'll see signs of Halloween outside major cities.
If you happen to be in a big city with large expatriate communities such as Beijing, Shanghai or Guangzhou, you might see pumpkins or squash decorating shopfronts and grocery stores selling western products. If you live in one of these cities, you might buy some candy, but you won't find hoards of Chinese children knocking on doors for treats. Unless you live in a compound with many expat kids or kids who go to international schools, you probably won't have any trick-or-treaters.
How Adults Celebrate Halloween in China
Halloween is essentially a gimmicky holiday in China and lots of bars, pubs, and restaurants will use Halloween as a theme night. If you're visiting China during Halloween, you'll probably only find these parties in larger cities that are more expat-friendly such as Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou. You can check local expat magazines for parties and hit the bar scene for a spooky night out.
How to Celebrate Halloween in China With Kids
Unfortunately, only the international schools will likely be doing anything Halloween related, so if you're just visiting China with your kids during Halloween, you'll be hard-pressed to find parties or trick-or-treating, but that doesn't mean they don't exist. Check your city for local Halloween-themed events like Hong Kong's Halloween Fest or this Halloween Fair in Beijing.
Original Halloween Costumes
Despite Halloween not being a huge part of the culture, China happens to be a great place to put together a Halloween costume. So if you love a good Halloween party, you might consider this if you're going to be in China. That way, you can source your costume and accessories in advance. The fabric markets are a great place to take a costume idea and make it come to life with the help of a tailor.
You can find a relatively simple outfit online, print out photos, bring them to the market, and pick out your fabric. Shop it around to different tailors in the market until you find someone willing to do it for a good price. Just keep in mind that you'll need at least three days to a week to get something tailor-made.