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I Ask The Singaporeans Of Halloween: Why?

I have never understood Halloween. The appeal of taking the effort to dress up in layers of clothing in the sweltering heat to be someone else for a night is lost on me. I could imagine sweat piling underneath latex, or face paint melting in the crowded heat of people staring at you wondering what you are. What you are is a careful representation of your creative thought process, a daring exploit of stepping out of your comfort zone and presenting the concept of a costume to the world.

Will the world accept this part of you? Or worse: will the world even understand your reference? Is your idea of whimsical witty humour relevant to society’s perception of what is funny? Is your ode to your childhood heroes (see: 1993 Mighty Morphin Power Rangers) understood by kids of today? Or is celebrating All Hallow’s Eve more self-serving and less metaphysical psychology in the end?

These questions can be succinctly summed up: Why do people celebrate Halloween in Singapore? With the spirit of this conversation in mind, I visited the favourite haunts of Halloween goers around Clark Quay to track the most innovative outfits of the weekend.

Nazgul from Lord of the Rings
Loofa
Dove Soap (Boyfriend of Loofa)
Spawn
Dead Bride & Groom
Joker

The Robbers From Money Heist

I noticed them first. Dressed in red onesies and Salvador Dalí masks, the group of eight paid tribute to the 2017 Spanish heist crime series, made famous when Netflix attained global streaming rights to the film and renewed the series. In all honesty, I have yet to watch the highly proclaimed drama but the impact of the signature red standing across the night of Clarke Quay called out to me: Money Heist is here for the steal.

Sya: What are you dressed as?
Crew Leader: We’re the Money Heist crew, La casa de Papel (The House of Paper).

S: Whose idea was it?
CL: My friend, Vinod. We all watched the show, and we liked it, so we decided to go as them.

S: Okay, and why do you celebrate Halloween?
CL: Technically, it’s our first year, celebrating Halloween. So we wanted to do something big, so we decided to do Money Heist.

S: When did you plan the outfit?
CL: Two months ago. We bought it online.

S: What scares you the most?
CL: Flies. In fact, anything that flies.

S: What do you say to people who think Halloween is stupid or don’t celebrate Halloween?
CL: Maybe they don’t know the experience before, or they don’t know the fun of it. Because when we first did it, it was something new for us and it was super fun.

The Incredibles

Throughout the night, I noticed a few people dressed as The Incredibles. It is common to find groups of people dressed as famous characters, especially when it is easier to get the costumes online. By then I have interviewed a few other Money Heist groups too, although no one paid attention to the number of crew members they were supposed to have (it is covert ops, people!).

Still, The Incredibles here had a bowl cut advantage above the rest: they had Edna Mode in tow and all she had to get was the wig for her ensemble.

Sya: What are you dressed as?
Mr Incredible: I’m Mr Incredible from The Incredibles.
Edna: Edna Mode.
Mrs Incredible: I’m dressed as Mrs Incredible. Part of The Incredibles Family.

S: When did you plan it?
Mr I: About two weeks ago?
S: Wow, that’s actually very good work for two weeks ago. Good job, Edna!
E: Actually, I just have to buy the wig. Everything else is mine.

S: Okay, and why do you celebrate Halloween?
Mr I: Because it’s fun. We came with a group of friends. So I guess it is fun if you come with a group. We would around and party. This is actually our first time.

S: What do you like most about the outfit?
Mr I.: It’s pretty easy I think. No makeup also! Especially for guys.
E: Too much effort! Our effort is minimal, but we look good.
Mrs I: The best part is that our characters are recognisable, but no one knows who we are.

S: What scares you the most?
Mrs I: In life? Cockroaches.
E: I’m pretty fearless, I would say. I would conquer my fear and move on with life. No babies. No capes!
Mr I: Flying bees!

S: What do you say to people who think Halloween is stupid or don’t celebrate Halloween?
E: It is their choice. If they find that that’s their life, then do it!
Mrs I: Just have fun. Don’t think about it as being scary or anything, just enjoy it!

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers

I stan the original power rangers. For the kids of the 90s, the iconic scene of Tommy calling out to the Dragonzord with his dagger flute is the entire mood of the 1993 Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. More than just a kids show one could argue that it valiantly introduces the idea of anonymous heroism where good can be done without having to take credit for as the rangers did behind masks. The same could be said of the following crew in their fifth year of dressing up as heroes: for the children.

Sya: What are you dressed as?
Green Ranger (leader): My friends and I are dressed as the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers

S: Whose idea was it?
GR: Mine!

S: Oh, okay, and how long have you done this for?
GR: Actually, we do this annually in Singapore, we try to spread the awareness of Halloween in general in Singapore. So if you realise, Halloween is not celebrated here. We try to do this annually to cultivate the culture. It’s been about four or five years.

S: So, always as power rangers? Are the members always the same?
GR: Yeah, it is my childhood hero, and it’s always been a dream to dress as your hero. Also, you’re in a mask, so no one really knows who you are. Along the years, there has been a couple of switches, but since you’re behind the mask, no one really knows.

S: What scares you the most?
GR: Probably when people don’t remember who the green ranger is. I was born in 1989, so there’s a chance that kids might not know who the green ranger is.

S: I was born in 1990, so I can totally relate. What do you say to people who think Halloween is stupid or don’t celebrate Halloween?
GR: Give it a try! You get free candy, and you have nothing to lose. Dress up and make people happy. Dress up as your favourite character, be it an avenger, or a DC fan or something scary. Do something different, have fun!

Halloween Is Just Fun

By the end of the night, the answer to why people celebrate Halloween was actually simpler than a complex deep dive into human psychology. It is connatural to something we adults tend to forget in the busy of our daily lives.

Halloween is simply fun.

Dressing up as your childhood heroes or fears take effort, even if all you have to do is to throw on a signboard that says Dove Soap. It is the ingenuity of every creative expression, no matter how simple or elaborate, that should be celebrated, even if for a day.

In a world where our careers, our love and our many endeavours can easily get us down, Halloween pays tribute to an important person in our lives: the child that lives inside all of us. One that kept us going by finding humour, joy and fun in the littlest of things.

The writer with his favourite childhood superheroes

This one’s for you, kid.


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Syakir Ryli

Syakir would describe himself as a romantic first. He extends the same courtesy even for your woes. 10/10 would immortalise you in some prose.

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