7 CHINESE HALLOWEEN COSTUMES
Halloween may not most Chinese people’s cup of tea, but that doesn’t mean Westerners in the Middle Kingdom shouldn’t celebrate. After all, unlike some of our more divisive mainstream holidays—Christmas, Hanukkah, Flag Day—Halloween has something for everyone. Candy! Scary movies! And most importantly, costumes.
The key to a successful costume that will impress both Chinese and Western friends is 1) sweet cultural references and 2) expert execution. Here, then, are seven suggestions for Halloween costumes, Chinese-style.
1. Blockbuster Characters: One of the easiest ways to be topical in a way that is both non-controversial and accessible is to go dressed as a movie character. Combine your cinema savvy with old-timey clothes and dress up as a character from one of 2011’s Chinese blockbusters like “The Great Revival” (《建党伟业》), “Let the Bullets Fly” (《让子弹飞》), “A Chinese Fairytale” (《新倩女幽魂》) and, of course, “Kungfu Panda 2” (《功夫熊猫2》).
2. Mythological Monsters: According to my very reliable source, monsters aren’t that popular in Chinese culture; you’re more likely to see Chinese Halloweeners dressed up as green-skinned witches and draculas than some mythological monster. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try! You can go classic with weird-looking ancient monsters like the longma (龙马, dragon horse) or the kui (夔, a one-legged mountain demon).
3. Pop Culture Monsters: Of course, if you want people to actually get your costume, you’re better off culling your characters from more updated sources. Nerdy girls can hunt down an ivory wig and go as the “White Haired Devil Lady” (白发魔女), from the popular Hong Kong film “The Bride With White Hair” while we recommend that guys just dress up as hopping zombies. You can’t lose!