1. Do not touch, step over or kick roadside offerings.
Roadside offerings are typically for hungry ghosts who are only allowed to eat at Hungry Ghost Month. If done by accident, quickly apologize. In addition, avoid making fun of the supernatural, or complain about temporary altars and roadside offerings because it is believed that spirits will overhear this and may get offended and cause problems for the person or follow them home.
2. Don’t look under the prayer altar.
The altar is where devotees can pray and extend offerings to the guardians of hell and the deceased. Therefore, it is not advisable to look under the altar as the spirits may be having a feast there.
3. Do not sit in the front row at street performances.
Chinese opera performances and getai (the singing performance) take place throughout the month to entertain wandering spirits, and the front row seats are specially reserved for the unseen VIPs.
4. Avoid staying out too late.
This especially applies to pregnant women and children, as it is believed that spirits are exceptionally attracted to fetuses and children. Ghosts are said to be at their strongest after sunset, as yin energy from the moon strengthens them at night, so best get home before sunset.
5. Don’t hang your laundry outside through the night.
The human shape of clothes is said to attract visiting spirits, who will gladly come over to borrow your garments for the night. Apparitions may also leave behind their misfortune-inducing aura on your clothes.
6. Avoid taking photographs after sunset.
Cameras have long been associated with ghosts due to the ghostly images captured on film in the past. Hence, it is believed that photographs can record and trap spirits, and taking any pictures at night may invoke spirits to associate with you.
7. Stay away from water-related activities.
It is said that vengeful water spirits lie in wait for a “substitute” to take their place in death, so that they can be reincarnated. Some people even go as far as to postpone any travel by sea to avoid mishaps caused by mischievous spirits.
8. Do not open an umbrella indoors or pick up any stray umbrellas.
Why? Because It is believed that wandering souls may seek shelter in umbrellas when it’s used in the open, and opening the umbrella indoors may bring them home to your house! Therefore it is best to have it dry outdoors and close it before entering the house.