BEIJING - At a shopping booth in Joy City at Beijing's downtown commercial center of Xidan, Guo Jing picks up a fake-bloody mask and puts it over her head.
"Do I look scary enough?" she asks one of her friends.
Guo has been busy costume hunting for a Halloween party on Wednesday evening, even though the 23-year-old has no idea what the festival means.
"I'd just want to relax and have fun at the party," she says.
Guo works at a publishing press in Beijing and frequent overtime has left her under a lot of stress.
Like Guo, many young Chinese celebrate Halloween as an excuse to relax from daily pressures.
In department stores, supermarkets and wholesale markets, Halloween costumes and masks are on show. At Taobao.com, China's largest online shopping platform, there are 240,000 Halloween items for sale.
The owner of an online shop called Qianqifang House Decoration on the platform has sold more than 5,000 Halloween cloaks in a month, among other items.
Cao Baoming, an expert with folk customs, says celebrating Western festivals such as Halloween has become a trend in China but that cultural connotations embedded in such events have been neglected.
Few Chinese people who celebrate Halloween know that the festival is an occasion when people stock up on food and worship the dead to survive winter. It marks the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter.
"Trick-or-treat is not popular in China, and young people are just making use of the occasion for parties and other recreational activities to reduce stress," he says.
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