SINGAPORE - Every October, blogger Nicholas Yau psyches himself up to be scared silly by ghosts, demons, clowns and whatever else that goes bump in the night.
The 25-year-old is a fan of Universal Studios Singapore's annual Halloween Horror Nights and forks out around $80 every year to attend the fright fest with his friends. The event started in 2011.
"Some people think it's a waste of money. I always get the 'You're paying to scare yourself!' remark.
To me, it's a form of experiential entertainment that you can't get elsewhere, short of having a true paranormal encounter," he says.
Halloween, which falls on Oct 31, has its origins in Celtic and Christian traditions, and is mostly celebrated in Western cultures.
Mr Yau is one of a growing number of Halloween buffs here whom businesses try to woo every year, pulling out all the stops to create an unearthly experience with fresh scare antics, extravagant decorations and attractive giveaways for the best dressed customers.
From theme parks to nightclubs to restaurants, many establishments are jumping on the Halloween bandwagon. For instance, Halloween Horror Nights is going bigger this year.
"Compared with when we launched the event, this year's event has more than doubled in scale, considering the number of event nights, scare zones and haunted houses," says Ms Andrea Teo, vice-president of entertainment at Resorts World Sentosa.
The integrated resort would say only that the event has seen double-digit growth in visitor numbers each year. Opening today, the fourth instalment of Halloween Horror Nights will have its first 3-D haunted house as well as a new stage show featuring a famous character from Universal Studios Florida.
More scares can be found on Sentosa Island with the other major Halloween fest, Sentosa Spooktacular.
Organised by Sentosa Leisure Management, the event has renewed a three-year partnership with renowned Thai movie production studio GMM Tai Hub.
Last year, Sentosa Spooktacular raised its horror quotient by recreating key scenes from five well-known Thai films, including Shutter (2004), and drew a record high of 15,000 visitors.
The event attracted 3,000 visitors in its first year in 2009.
This Halloween, the entire Fort Siloso will be transformed into a haunted village inspired by Thai horror film Laddaland (2011), complete with longer walkthroughs within three houses.
Over at Downtown East, NTUC Club has collaborated with escape-room operator Lockdown Singapore to create a new crime scene investigation game.