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Entertainment, Food & Beverage

Sinking their fangs into Halloween

Hotels, clubs and even museum hop on the spookfest bandwagon to attract patrons
The Sunday Times - October 30, 2011
By: Amelia Tan
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Sinking their fangs into Halloween Guest service executives Heng Yuyi, 21, and Sheda Ismail, 34, from the Royal Plaza on Scotts, in the outfits they will be wearing at work tomorrow. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND LUI

Hotel customer relations assistant manager Karlson Kim promises not to bite, even as he bares his 'fanged' teeth tomorrow.

The Royal Plaza on Scotts staff member will just be indulging in the Halloween mood - decked out in a Phantom Of The Opera and Dracula-inspired costume.

Mr Kim, 26, a Filipino, eagerly volunteered himself when he learnt last month that his hotel will be letting its staff dress up in Halloween costumes when they turn up for work tomorrow.

He works in the hotel's restaurant, Carousel.

Other staff members will be lurking about as 'villains', 'zombies' and 'vampires' in the restaurant and at the reception area. The hotel has put up decorations like cobwebs, spiders and pumpkins.

Other businesses - from restaurants and clubs to even the Asian Civilisations Museum - are celebrating the event with a bang this year, with special food items, top international DJs, live performances and free entry for Halloween-costumed club-goers.

Halloween, an American festival celebrated every year on Oct 31 by adults and children alike by dressing up in costumes, is becoming big business in Singapore.

Business owners said pop culture and social media have helped to hype up the event in recent years.

A Clarke Quay spokesman said it has, in recent years, seen a 30 to 40 per cent increase in the number of guests visiting its food and beverage outlets each year during Halloween.

Number 1 Costume Costume, a costume house in Toa Payoh, reports brisk business, having already rented out or sold some 1,000 Halloween-themed items.

Mr Patrick Fiat, Royal Plaza on Scotts' general manager, felt this year's heightened interest might be due to the cancellation of the Night Safari's Halloween Horrors event, and other Halloween-themed events at places like Universal Studios Singapore.

Halloween is a no-holds-barred celebration 'where the crazier it is, the better', said a spokesman of LifeBrandz, which runs clubs like Zirca and Yello Jello.

Avalon, a new nightspot at Marina Bay Sands, threw parties at the weekend based on the festival's association with larger-than-life costumes and props.

The club has also brought in acts such as international DJs Autoerotique and Steve Aoki.

Business owners said the growing interest in Halloween means that they need to come up with bigger and better celebrations each year.

Clarke Quay customers, for example, will be treated to live band performances, games and activities like voodoo-doll making and face-painting this year.

Party-goers say they appreciate the efforts put in by the various outlets.

American Bob Schumacher, 59, an offshore construction consultant, is staying at the Royal Plaza on Scotts.

'This is the first time that I've stayed at a hotel in Asia which is decorated for Halloween. I appreciate it and feel a sense of familiarity when I see these decorations,' he said.

Ms Sarah Alkaff, 30, a graphic designer who celebrates Halloween at clubs in Clarke Quay each year, said: 'It's great when clubs offer free entry to customers who dress up. This will encourage more people to come in costume and join in the fun.'



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