Halloween or Hallowe'en, also known as All Hallows' Eve, is a yearly celebration observed in a number of countries on October 31, the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows and the day initiating the triduum of Hallowmas.
According to many scholars, All Hallows' Eve is a Christianised feast originally influenced by western European harvest festivals, and festivals of the dead with possible pagan roots, particularly the Celtic Samhain.
Typical festive Halloween activities (internationally) include trick-or-treating, attending costume parties, carving pumpkins into jack-o'-lanterns, lighting bonfires, apple bobbing, visiting haunted attractions, playing pranks, telling scary stories, and watching horror films.
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Halloween in Singapore?
In recent years, Halloween is increasingly celebrated in Singapore as compared to the past where the inherently Western festival was not popular locally. Now on October 31st, it is common to see little kids and teenagers dress up as villains or ghory characters.
In fact, I took part in the celebrations last year and dressed up as a Psychotic Nurse and went trick-or-treating with a bunch of friends. Popular go-to places would be Holland Village and Bukit Timah, where the residents are extremely generous with their candy as compared to areas like Bedok and Hougang where the hype for Halloween is literally non-existent.
A festival more for children and teenagers, while it sheds light on Westernization, I welcome its entrance as it gives Singaporeans one more festival to celebrate!
Not Popular but Really Fun
I don't celebrate Halloween on an annual basis. As Singaporeans living in HDB flats don't celebrate Halloween, they don't bother putting up scary decorations and children normally don't go around knocking on doors asking for treats. That is why two years ago, my friends and I went trick or treating at sixth avenue and it was a pretty cool experience.
We saw quite a number of houses that were adorned with cobwebs and skeletons. The people we met were also really nice and warm. There was this particular house that gave us a lot of sweets because they were about to go to sleep. We met a couple of trick or treaters there too but since it was pretty late, most of the houses were fast asleep. Apparently, many children were there trick or treating at 6pm so if you want to go trick or treating this year, you should do it earlier and not at 9pm.
These days, Halloween is celebrated much more especially since Resorts World Sentosa organises the USS Halloween Horror Night. I've not been to one because I think I might pee my pants but from what I've heard thus far, it's pretty good. I hope that one day, Singaporeans will embrace Halloween more as a "fun holiday" where you get to dress up instead and maybe we can go trick or treating at HDB flats.
A farce Ocassion
Halloween is always a festival that celebrates the demonic manifestations of the spiritual world. Personally, its a festival that I don't care to appreciate for the mere fact that it dabbles with the spiritual world and pokes fun at the expense of the supernatural. While some people take it as an opportunity to scare innocent victims, others use it as a façade to do as they wish, donning skimpy clothing as a way to celebrate the occasion.
Many also jump onto the bandwagon in hopes of being part of the mainstream that treat it as a festive occasion, where their kids' worst nightmares come to life. I don't find anything worth celebrating in this event, there is nothing other than a mish-mash of hopeful carnival freaks and some disrespecting individuals.
The spiritual world isn't one to be dabbled with, especially not with one that deals with the not so kind spirits of the earth.
Halloween in Singapore doesn't have much of a cultural significance compared to the western countries. It's pretty similar to the Chinese's Hungry Ghost festival just that it isn't treated as seriously or inauspiciously. Rather, it is a night where thrill seekers unleash the daredevil in them and put their guts to test. There isn't much of trick-or-treating or jack-o-lanterns but more of haunted houses and halloween parties. With big players like Sentosa, USS, Scape, Zouk coming into the picture, it's no wonder Halloween is becoming a trend in Singapore.
My personal take on it is that it is one of the festivals that Singapore more vibrant and "happening" as there will be more entertainment options during the season. Friends gather around to watch horror movies, visit eerily decorated attractions, hit a club in a Halloween costume, go for a walk or two in a cemetery. And the best part is, you don't have to keep your guard up on the way home because the day itself has no supernatural significance involved.
Halloween hasn't exactly been a heavily celebrated festival in Singapore (unlike Hari Raya Haji/Chinese New Year) till the recent years; probably because of the recent increase in number of Halloween events together with the completion of Resorts World Sentosa (RWS).
The biggest Halloween event in Singapore might be that of Universal Studios Singapore (USS) Halloween Horror Night. Tickets might be a tad too expensive but be sure to catch the non-peak period to save some money! Another huge even would be Sentosa Spooktacular - probably just about as costly. Both are equally horrifying, tickets are definitely worth the scare you will be getting!
If you are looking for a slightly cheaper event, you can try out our local community centre at Boon Lay's very own 5km horror run. You will have to escape and run through obstacles of ghosts, ending with a horror movie screening at midnight! Tickets cost about just $20 (more than half that of Sentosa's) and it is on a much smaller-scale. You probably won't be THAT terrified, but definitely still worth a try!