Halloween, although an import from the west is fast catching up with its cousin Valentine’s Day in popularity sans the strident opposition the latter faces every year.
“Indians need an excuse to celebrate. We can easily make an Irish festival our own” says Anurag Wadhwa of a fancy dress outlet in the capital.
“There has been a 25-50 per cent increase in orders for Halloween costumes since last year, the most popular Halloween accessory being devil-horn headbands and eye masks,” says Mr. Wadhwa, who attributes the festival’s popularity to the growth of foreign multi-national corporations in the capital, as well as to the various embassies it hosts.
Another popular cafe — Hard Rock Cafe — has given the night their own twist, using Halloween to celebrate and pay tribute to Michael Jackson. Designed around Michael Jackson’s iconic music video “Thriller”, the organisers hope the event will appeal to all homesick foreigners and fun-loving desis.
“We want to give all our patrons a chance to experience a real Halloween with scary decorations, costumes and theme-specific food and drinks. We hope this will be an event people will start looking forward to every year”, says Amit Keswani, VP Sales Marketing & Operations of JSM Corp Pvt. Ltd.
The idea behind dressing up in scary costumes is to ward off any evil spirits that may visit your home as it is on this night that the line between the living and the dead is considered the thinnest, therefore letting in both harmless and harmful spirits. Often, those loved and lost are paid tribute to while evil spirits are warded or ‘scared’ off, explains an enthusiast.
The custom of ‘trick-or-treating’ refers to when children go door-to-door asking for treats and trick anyone who does not treat them. When people do not open the door and give them candy, children play pranks like leaving a smelly fish or a rat in the person’s mailbox, he says.
Halloween has its roots in the old Irish festival of Samhain which originally celebrated the onset of winter.
Today, it is characterised by the colours black and orange, bonfires, wearing the scariest costume possible, jack-o-lanterns, ghost stories and — amongst Twilight fans in the city — vampires.
“This halloween, vampires will literally be coming out of their graves” says designer Shauna Gupta, who is heading to a Halloween costume party on Saturday. I’m going as a ’shape-shifter’, she grins. ‘Shapeshifters’ means vampires who can ‘borrow’ the shape or body of any animal. “We’re really looking forward to the party and we expect about 150 people this year,” says Pushkar Mitroo of Cibo restaurant and bar.
The setting is an old eerie gothic castle with a graveyard, and the music, cocktails and food will all be in line with the theme. We will also have a range of props for our shyer guests to choose from,” says Deepali Narula, CEO of F-bar.
“Although the decor will be typical of Halloween, the music will be a mix of ghostly, dark tunes and commercial beats, so the music retains an Indian touch,” she adds