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Why Koreans are obsessed with Halloween

The world continues to pay attention to the stampede accident in Itaewon, South Korea. Many people gathered for the Halloween event that day. As a festival originated in the West, Halloween has long been a carnival for young Koreans, and has even been described as a culture that symbolizes the freedom of the younger generation. Wearing spooky costumes to enjoy the Halloween atmosphere has become a local custom. What makes Koreans so receptive to Halloween? What has pushed up the holiday heat of Halloween? The author has lived in Seoul for many years and has a lot of personal experience with the constant rise of Halloween.

English education boosts Halloween

Every year before Halloween, the “Hundred Ghosts Night Walk” will take place in the gathering places that young people like in Itaewon, Hongdae, Gangnam, etc. A popular gameplay in recent years is “zombie attack”, that is, “zombies” with ragged clothes and terrifying makeup flood the streets to stage a live-action version of the walking dead. This year, young Koreans have gone crazy on Halloween. For young people whose lives have been affected by the epidemic for many years, the Halloween carnival is a release.

Why does Halloween make Korean youth so crazy? Some analysts believe that the first reason for the rapid popularity of Halloween culture among children and young people is the prevalence of English learning. Korean young people not only play crazy, but also learn English crazy. With the increase of English-language educational institutions, Halloween culture is rapidly gaining popularity among young people as part of English learning. Many young people think that just like the contestants who participated in the Korean variety show “The Masked Singer”, they have to wear masks before they can sing freely, and young people can wear fancy clothes on Halloween before they can play freely. “There are not many festivals in Korea that allow us to play freely,” said a young Korean.

Preference for funny and cute outfits

Elements such as witches, vampires, and skeletons have been popular in Halloween costumes for years, and at traditional Halloween parties, everyone is scarier than anyone else. Korean Halloween culture is more inclined to Japanese Cosplay culture. Funny or cute Halloween costumes have been popping up all over the world in recent years. Korean college student Miss Kim’s Halloween costume this year is the little wooden girl in “Squid Game”. “There are a lot of people wearing scary clothes. I want to dress up cute.” Her friend chose a nurse uniform. In their words, Halloween is “the day when a good girl can play on the street in her uniform.”

For these young people, the most important thing about Halloween is not candy, but social media likes. South Korea has developed social media, and it has become a unique culture for young people to post pictures of their Halloween costumes on social media, which some call “competition for attention”.

Not only young people, many children in English kindergartens and day care centers also like to experience foreign cultures. Children who have been exposed to Halloween since childhood will become more familiar with the Halloween five culture when they grow up. For children, it is very interesting to wear cosplay costumes, eat snacks and play games with other children.

For Korean parents, Halloween is a daunting holiday. After the housewife Ms. Li learned that her child’s English kindergarten was going to hold a Halloween party, she customized a Spider-Man moon costume for her child on the Internet. Every year the child wants to dress differently, and the child’s body shape is also changing, so Have to buy a new one every year. These clothes, which are only worn once a year, are not a small expense. In addition, parents have to prepare candy and cookies for all the kindergarten children, which is another expense.

Commercialization and Consumerism

Another reason for the rapid spread of Halloween culture among children and young adults is its commercialization. Although some people criticize it as a Western festival, it means nothing to Koreans, but like Valentine’s Day in the West, it has become a festival for young people because of commercialization.

On the eve of Halloween, the retail industry launched a variety of products aimed at the younger generation to provide entertainment for consumers who are physically and mentally exhausted by the epidemic and stimulate their desire to consume. Coffee shops will launch menus and activities that focus on visual elements, such as adding eyeball-shaped chocolates to drinks, to attract young people to take photos and promote them on social media. Cosmetics brands launch limited-edition lipstick sets or eyeshadow sets for Halloween. Theme parks will also create Halloween-themed scenes, such as creepy railway tracks, tunnels, eerie train stations, etc., to give visitors an immersive feeling.

Although many Koreans welcome Halloween as a holiday, criticism of “commercialized foreign festivals” is gradually increasing. The older generation also expressed dissatisfaction with the weird clothes and dressing of young people, feeling that Koreans only need to celebrate official holidays. In response to these criticisms of Halloween, proponents argue that there is no need to be prejudiced that Halloween makes everyday life fun when there are not many festivals for teens to enjoy.

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