Language ＆ Culture The 2021 Halloween in Korea
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It was the last week before Korea relaxed most of its coronavirus restrictions on 1 November 2021. The Halloween weekend was anticipated by the youngsters to feel the soon-freedom. Hongdae and Itaewon are the two well-known places to celebrate this October festive. My friends and I were on purpose avoiding Itaewon as the narrow alleys with crowds means minimum social distancing.
We met up in Hongdae at 8pm and started to get ready. Some of us were taking this seriously with the Catwoman, Alice in Wonderland, Frontman from Squid game costumes, while some of us were taking it easy with just all-black-outfit and bruises bleeding tattoos all over our face and neck. For sure, this corona-era-Halloween was challenging as we need to show how scary we look with our mask on. There were shop street peddler who were selling pictured mask like Dracula but we were getting creative by putting tattoo on our masks.
It was not even 9pm but the street was very crowded. Everyone was having fun, walking in costumes, taking pictures with strangers. I could see fellow foreigners too enjoying the night. As we all could had guess, this year favorite costumes was from the infamous Netflix K-drama, Squid Game. From afar, we could see all the red soldiers’ uniform, the frontman, the teal participant’s sweatshirt and pants, also the orange-yellow doll girl costumes. What caught my attention the most was a guy who took Squid Game into another level. He was wearing a mask made of dried squid with two holes for eyes. He was defining squid game literally. He made my day for sure.
That weekend was the last week where the night curfew was until 10pm. I could see police in uniforms getting ready to shoo all the partygoers. Korea was taking it seriously. They had even warned the foreigners to take Covid-19 precautions seriously or we can get deported. I knew it was 10pm when the polices started to walked in groups towards the crowd with police siren on. I guess it was time for the party to be over. More crowds on the alleys as clubs and bars were closing. Everyone start moving to the subway station as the police started to move.
That was the end of 2021 Halloween. My group of friends were having lots of fun despite of the early end and mask on. I guess that was part of the experience that I would not forget.
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