Monday, September 24, 2012

"Go to Hell, please!"

I've never had an amusement park worker be so polite to me before. 
Last Friday, I had the distinct pleasure to check out one of Hong Kong's amusement parks, Ocean Park. With rides, animal exhibits, carnival games and the best theme-park food I've seen so far, the place was an absolute hit. I went there with one purpose: to forcibly inject myself with some Halloween spirit. Now, I know that it's mid-to-late September. And I know that I'm 21. And I know that I'm in a country that doesn't historically give a hoot about Halloween. But dammit, I want to see some costumes and some pumpkins.

Every year, Ocean Park, like many others in the business of amusement, gets a makeover for All Hallow's Eve, and I was able to go on one of the first nights. Creepy music plays constantly, the lighting across the entire park is shifted, haunted houses spring up, and everywhere you go, costumed employees try their hardest to scare and entertain the throngs of Cantonese visitors. And they certainly do a good job of it.
I was fascinated to see what the Chinese take on horror would be, and they were on-point. There were the classic witches and zombies, but thrown in among the ghosts and pirates was a smattering of some distinctly Chinese elements. They had a couple of people dressed up as legendary Chinese figures, which was very cool, as well as some incredibly intricate costumes reflecting twisted versions of traditional culture. Reanimated Chinese brides, domineering ghostly mothers, representations of ancient demons and more were all present throughout the park. We hit up as many haunted houses as we could before getting burnt out, rode a few rides, and called it a night.

And as I'm about to exit the park, a man dressed as a traditional Chinese wizard yelled at me to go to hell, please.

Overall, it was a very cool, very unique Halloween experience, and definitely got me feeling like the seasons were changing (in some other part of the world). 

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