China’s Halloween Partygoers Seize the Streets

There’s been an uptick in Chinese cultural costumes, as folks take a tongue-in-cheek approach to the holiday

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4:11 PM HKT, Mon October 30, 2023 1 mins read

The streets are alive with gods and ghouls.

China may not have a long history with Halloween, but the holiday’s presence is real for the younger generation in major cities, who seize the opportunity to party in costume.

Not everyone is with it — in fact, Guangzhou subways banned “terrifying makeup” completely, fearing that it would frighten pregnant women and the elderly.

Even so, Halloween weekend is still a force to be reckoned with across the country. And as part of a growing wave of interest in Chinese cultural aesthetics, we’re seeing more and more costumes inspired by Chinese tradition.

A few years ago, traditional hanfu fashion came back in a big way, and then came Neo-Chinese style, which brought elements of classical Chinese fashion into the modern era. Historical period dramas are some of the most popular shows on TV, and one of the highest-grossing movies this year was ‘Creation of the Gods,’ an ancient mythical epic that’s been called “China’s ‘Lord of the Rings.’”

With all this being said, it’s no surprise that, alongside the classic ghosts, ghouls, and global pop culture references, we’re also seeing some tongue-in-cheek looks from China’s cultural canon.

We’ve scanned social media and rounded up some of our favorites.

Some drag-inspired takes on characters from the classic Journey to the West.

Someone dressed as a Shanghai street sign that says “I’m thinking about dying at work.”

Caishen, the god of wealth, complete with bowl of gold coins.

A jiangshi vampire and a Taoist monk.

For more about ghostly Chinese tradition, check out our comprehensive list of Chinese Ghosts and Ghouls

All images via Xiaohongshu

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