In November when people spend time with their families and ask the question: “What are we thankful for?” no one needs not to be told it’s Thanksgiving time. Then, in December when it is snowy and Santa Claus and his elves are making generous distributions of toys, candies and other gifts for kids, we say it’s Christmas. Quintessentially, the American culture is marked by various festivities –some of which are known and others unknown elsewhere.
Most fascinating for me, is being able to gain a stark and firsthand experience of how some Americans celebrate their Halloween. I walked into work on October 29th at the admissions office. As I sat, going about my duties, a young lad strolled in towards my sitting area. He was in his Halloween costume which had a color combination of blue and red and a rounded cartoon face drawn in the front. They say it is called Thomas the Tank. Behind him, was a tall man whom upon seeing, I suspected to be the father of the cute young chap. Those were the son and husband of Mrs. Kate Ayers, a worker at the admissions office of the University of Rochester—they had come to visit her. She introduced them to me and we exchanged pleasantries.
Not long after, another lad made an entrance. After him were two others with their parents. The costume of the first kid had a tail and resembled the skin of a lion. In their small hands were small pumpkin-like baskets, which are integral to the “trick or treat” affair. I was happy to share in their joy by dropping chocolate bars and candies into their baskets though, I should confess, that I personally devoured a reasonable amount of those bars and candies meant for the kids. This amazing interaction with the kids on Halloween rounded up my day and made it a good one.
I must remark that the joy gained from this interaction is no less than that which is gained by Americans, Chinese, British or foreigners in general whenever they visit Ghana, my home country, or other places in the world and fall in love with the traditional costume, food and culture there.
On that note, I officially announce my Halloween character as Thomas the Tank! Thanks to Justin Ayers for the inspiration. I will give credit to Jason Russell and Kate Ayers for the photograph and Justin Ayers for the amazing costume.