The business of Halloween

The business of Halloween

Whether it's tales about Pulau Tekong's campsites, the Old Changi Hospital or Lim Chu Kang's cemeteries, Singaporeans have always enjoyed a good spooky story.

So it isn't at all surprising for our country, where trick-or-treating has never been a local tradition, that creative entrepreneurs are turning Halloween into a big money- spinner.

Over the years, options for people to be scared into parting with their money in the name of fun have gone beyond ghoul-themed pub-crawls and elaborate costume parties - which are still highly popular in Asian cities such as Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur.

Singapore, on the other hand, is fast following in the footsteps of other cosmopolitan Asian cities such as Hong Kong where its tourist attractions in the dazzling forms of Disneyland, Ocean Park and Madame Tussauds have been throwing large-scale Halloween spectacles and events. The local scene here has since diversified into haunted houses, theme park fright nights and most recently, a sold-out zombie marathon.

Rising attendance and popularity of such events can be attributed to globalisation and social media, among many other factors.

One running hit for the past four years has been *Scape's Museum of Horrors, which gets more crowded each year, according to Marcus Chee, director of programming and finance at the youth-oriented space. "The barrier of nationality is coming down," he says. "Certain holidays are no longer just a US or UK holiday, just like how English football has become so big in Singapore. There has been a convergence of certain celebratory festivals and Halloween is one of them."

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