It's Halloween eve and it's just another day here. Instead of wearing costumes on halloween night, the Taiwanese have Ghost month every seventh month of the lunar calendar. For thirty days they believe that ghosts leave the underworld and roam the world of the living. The Taiwanese offer food and burn incense and paper money for their dead relatives. During the ghost month, it is forbidden to launder or hang clothes after dark as ghosts are suppose to inhabit them and cause trouble to the wearer. Getting married or moving to a new house is definite no-no unless you want to be accursed for the rest of your life. The list of things one shouldn't do on Ghost month is long yet my husband tells me that observance of the Ghost month is common for all Chinese.

There are no halloween parties, no children wearing costumes asking for treats. I'll have to content myself with the certainty that back home my mother will, without fail, offer candles and prayers for relatives that have moved on to the great beyond. Like she always does on the first day of November.