“Inay, tapos na po ba?” (“Mom, is it done?”) anxiously asked a seven-year old Mikay, her voice overwhelmed by the whirring of a sewing machine. “Mag-antay ka naman. Ang kulet kulet mo!” (“Can’t you wait? You’re so annoying!”) shot back her mom, Nisa, irritated from the urging of her daughter. “Excited na po kasi ako, eh. Nandun na silang lahat sa baba,” (“I’m just excited, they’re all downstairs,”) replied Mikay, referring to her peers waiting downstairs. A few more stitches and a red Halloween costume retrofitted with flowers finally done. “O hayan, isuot mo na at nang makalakad na kayo ni kuya mo” (“Ok, wear this so you can go with your brother”) said Nisa, helping Mikay to her costume. “Yeheey, tapos na rin!” (“Yahoo, it’s done at last!”) shouted Mikay in jubilation. “Huwag mong kalimutan yang pumpkin basket at palakol mo anak. At mag-ingat sa mga sasakyan” (“Don’t forget your pumpkin basket and axe, my dear. And watch out for vehicles”) Nisa reminded her daughter. “Opo Inay!” (“Yes Mom!”) Mikay shouted back as she and her older brother scampered off to join their friends.
In the corner of Gov. Pascual and Goldendale Avenues, in Malabon, traffic screeched to a halt as gaggle of kids wearing spooky costumes knocked on private car windows, spoofed at motorists declaring ‘trick or treat’, oblivious to the danger of being squished over by moving vehicles. Some kids jumped at public jeepneys, one frailty hand dangling from the overhead handle while the other spreading wide open towards the passengers, relentlessly asking, begging, even demanding. Some passengers looked away ignoring the poor kids. But beyond the callous ones, others showed kindness, reached down to their pockets and purses and produced some change. Other kids swarmed pedestrians, chased and ganged them up for treats (or money) before they could cross the street, where in the other side different group of ghouls, goblins and kobolds await preying on their victims.
Two hours later, back in their house, Mikay excitedly emptied her pumpkin basket full of treats and some cash. “Inay, meron na akong pambili ng bagong damit sa Pasko.” (“Mom, now I have money to buy a new dress for Christmas.”) she said waving twenties and fifties in her hand. There goes the story of Mikay, one of the many that came to life on the eve of Halloween in the Philippines. There are certainly many more identical stories but Mikay’s is sufficient to capture our imagination. Despite the children’s creative choice and effort in selecting and fabricating their costumes and the time they’ve spent painting their faces and bodies to make them scary trick-or-treaters, the event pointed ostensibly to the material aspect of Halloween. At such young age, Mikay consciously valued more her stash of money over her treats of candies.