Today was a strange day indeed. Typically Saturdays are not a flurry of activity around our house, but today was different. Perhaps a whiff of All Hallow’s Eve spawned some added tempestuousness today. Actually, Halloween festivities were celebrated today in the American community in Seoul because October 31st is a Monday. (Most Koreans do not celebrate Halloween, although some who live near military bases have adopted the holiday as a way to get free candy.) The grand opening of the National Museum of Korea in Seoul this weekend also added to the day’s disequilibrium. For three consecutive days, the National Museum, the sixth largest museum in the world, has been broadcasting ethereal Korean music and setting off fireworks displays, electrifying the surrounding neighborhoods. The Halloween and National Museum grand opening celebrations collectively cast an abnormal pall over the day today. Nothing seemed of the ordinary today.
Many other tangential events also transpired. ‘Tis the season, I suppose. The lazy days of summer are long gone, and the flurry of activity preceding the Yuletide is now upon us. My son attended two different birthday parties, and I was invited over to a friend’s house for a Halloween party (I declined so I could take my son trick o’ treating). Tomorrow another coworker will marry, and I will likely attend (I just found out and may have to change plans). Some roughneck guys in the community hosted a no-holds barred football game, which I also missed (I promised to play in the Thanksgiving Day game). Despite going to two different birthday parties in the neighborhood, my son still managed to take a nap. He ate so much sugar and was so stimulated by today’s activities that he is still awake as I write and will probably sleep rather fitfully tonight.
Tonight one of my wife’s coworkers and his family joined us for dinner (pizza) and trick o’ treating. We all went trick o’ treating on Yongsan Army Base, home of some of the best trick o’ treating in Korea (it is also a very, very safe place to trick o’ treat). My son was dressed up as (who else) "Thomas the Tank Engine." His cute little costume featured a front pocket where he could store his candy treasure–his cargo hold. The coworker’s young daughter was a princess. It was her first time trick o’ treating as well as the first time the family had visited the U.S. Army base. Although it is located next to their home in Itaewon, their family had ever had an opportunity to visit Yongsan before. Most residents of Seoul have never been on Yongsan Army Base because it is restricted to authorized personnel (mostly military). Tonight was also the first time my son had experienced trick o’ treating. He had a great time collecting candy and watching other children dressed in an assortment of fanciful Halloween costumes. At first he was too shy to tell strangers "trick o’ treat," but by the fourth or fifth house visit he’d built up enough courage to say the magic words and accept candy. We not sure what we’re going to do with all the candy he collected. He sure isn’t allowed to each all that unhealthy candy! Dad may have to step in and eat some of it for him. Sometimes dads have to make big sacrifices for their children. LOL
Tonight our community hosted the best Haunted House I’ve ever seen. I haven’t been in a haunted house for years, but this one had to be one of best volunteer, non-profit haunted houses in the world. It was absolutely fabulous! I toured the house after it was over, and I was immensely disturbed by the haunted remnants. One of the ladies in our community who has been doing community haunted houses for over 12 years put in an amazing amount of work putting on the Haunted House, and other members of the community helped her turn it into a literal work of art. Over 550 people went through the house in just three hours (the community Haunted House is open just one night each year). Although this is only the 2nd annual community Haunted House, it’s already legendary in Seoul. Tomorrow I will go back to help clean up and tear down displays. Next year I might also participate as a mad doctor or killer clown. Our community association helped fund the Haunted House, but it made so much money that the organizers did not need the funding after all. I’m glad someone was willing to put in many thankless hours to make it happen. The community wouldn’t be the same without it.