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Halloween Fun for Everyone
Photograph: Resorts World Sentosa/Facebook Halloween Fun for Everyone

The best things to do in October

Don't stay basic with your pumpkin spice latte – hit the streets or streams and spice up your October

By Cam Khalid

You know it's spooky season in Singapore when October rolls in. But scaredy-cats, you can let out that huge sigh of relief because Halloween is cancelled – for now. While the Gates of Hell at Universal Studios Singapore (aka Halloween Horror Nights) remain closed this month, the city's other cool spaces, including online portals, are open to welcome everyone in their many interactive programmes. 

Step into the mind of your favourite author with the Singapore Writers Festival, navigate through the set of Around the World in 80 Days with AndSoForth, enter fictional worlds with the Singapore Chinese Film Festival, and see dance reimagined with Da:ns Festival. But if you still want to get your spook on, remember to practise safe-distancing when doing the Thriller.

RECOMMENDED: 101 best things to do in Singapore and the ultimate guide to Singapore's neighbourhoods

Our October highlights

Archifest 2020
Photograph: ADDP Architects in collaboration with OWIU Design


Art Singapore City, Raffles Place

In response to global warming, architects all over the world, including Singapore, are exploring various responsible designs and architectural ideas that could benefit ecology and humanity. Themed 'Architecture Saving Our World', this year’s Archifest invites all to delve deeper into the city's urban environment, examine the role of architecture in today's global climate, and get inside the mind of an architect. This marks its first hybrid edition, featuring a myriad of immersive online and offline programmes including online forums, virtual exhibitions, hybrid workshops, decentralised islandwide pop-up activities, and an inaugural virtual Pavilion.

Zadie Smith
Photograph: Dominique Nabokov

Singapore Writers Festival

Things to do Literary events Singapore City, Raffles Place

Literary lovers, it's time to get your noses out of your books, and expand your knowledge beyond those pages with the Singapore Writers Festival. Its 23rd edition this year, albeit in a digital format, features a diverse line-up of programmes inspired by this year's theme of 'intimacy'. This edition's international headliners include the author of best-seller White Teeth, Zadie Smith, and poet of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Life on Mars, Tracy K Smith. The well-loved Literary Pioneer series also returns to celebrate the life and work of three seminal Tamil writers and Cultural Medallion recipients, P Krishnan, Ma Elangkannan, and Rama Kannabiran, whose works span across short stories, novels, poetry, and radio.

da:ns festival, Living Archive – A creative workshop with Studio Wayne McGregor
Photograph: Camilla Greenwell

da:ns festival

Things to do Festivals Singapore City, Raffles Place

Whether you’re a dance lover or dipping your (pointe) toes into the scene for the first time, the annual dance festival will open your mind, lift your spirit, and get your body moving with a series of performances and workshops – even it's all online. See dance reimagined with a Zoom boogie, pop and lock with a Japanese street dance quartet, follow a Thai dancer as he documents the future possibilities of a classical Thai dance, trace the movements of a specially assembled cast from 14 African countries on a beach in Senegal, and catch a glimpse of a ballet star's everyday life. You can also polish your footwork with a creative workshop by award-winning British choreographer Wayne McGregor.

AndSoForth, Around the World in 80 Days
Photograph: AndSoForth/Facebook

Around the World in 80 Days

Theatre Singapore City, Raffles Place

AndSoForth is back – but don't expect another immersive theatrical dining experience. Instead, the local theatre group is hosting a book analysis workshop based on Jules Verne, Around the World in 80 Days. But unlike your usual book club, this one features the use of costumes, set designs, and cuisines to interpret the famous novel, so do come with an empty stomach. And just like any AndSoForth experience, the secret location will be disclosed to ticket holders within 24 hours before the workshop. While there are more hands-on activities to partake, there will be no live performances due to the current regulations and guidelines from the government to ensure safety.

Waiting for the host
Photograph: Pangdemonium

Waiting for the Host

Theatre Singapore City, Raffles Place

While theatres remain shut, joining an online play is definitely on the cards, especially in the age of Zoom. Taking a page out of New York-based Marc Palmieri's books, Pangdemonium's Zoom-inspired play revolves around the pandemic (or shall we say, 'pangdemic'), and is written specifically to be performed and enjoyed online. Starring local stars including Neo Swee Lin, Petrina Kow, and Adrian Pang, the play is set in the actors' homes (literally), and remotely directed by Tracie Pang. It sheds light on how some people are making the best out of the situation instead of merely surviving and 'waiting'.

Universal Studios, Halloween Fun For Everyone
Photograph: Resorts World Sentosa

Halloween Fun For Everyone

Kids Universal Studios Singapore, Sentosa

The creepy gates of Halloween Horror Nights may be locked this year, but that doesn't mean there can't be Halloween Fun For Everyone at Universal Studios Singapore. Back by popular demand, Minion Monsters Tricky Treats takes centre stage once again with FrankenBob, Stuart Mummy, and Kevin Dracula in their attention-grabbing ensemble. Since it's Halloween, go on a trick-or-treat adventure around the park, complete with free candies, gummies, and chocolates. While you're at it, snap a selfie or two with characters from iconic movies such as Universal Monsters, Despicable Me, Madagascar, Shrek, Sesame Street, and more – all in their best Halloween costumes, no less.

S.E.A. Aquarium
Photograph: S.E.A. Aquarium

S.E.A. Aquarium’s Deep Boo Sea

Kids SEA Aquarium at Resorts World Sentosa, Sentosa

Take a plunge into the Deep Boo Sea at S.E.A. Aquarium this Halloween season. Here, you'll come face-to-face – albeit through a glass – with some of nature's scariest-looking marine animals such as the Japanese warbonnet, and the wolf eel. There are also other activities such as a treasure photo hunt where you seek the lost pearls that are hidden within five habitats in the aquarium. For every riddle solved and pearl found, you stand a chance to win a mystery gift. As you dive deeper for the lost pearls, get 'entangled' in the tentacles of Kai the Kraken at the photo wall display and snap a photo for keeps.

Feels Good Man, Perspectives Film Festival 2020
Photograph: Visit Films

Perspectives Film Festival

Things to do Film events Singapore City, Raffles Place

Go beyond Hollywood blockbusters with this student-led event, which returns with more thought-provoking indie titles and lesser-known gems for its 13th edition on The Projector Plus. This year's lineup features eight international films by emerging directors, with six Southeast Asia premieres, all centred around the theme of 'Truth'. Highlights include Feels Good Man, the Sundance Award-winning documentary about Pepe the Frog as a viral symbol for the controversial American alt-right movement, and Farewell Amor which follows an immigrant family reuniting in a foreign country after being torn apart by war and time.

Island of the Hungry Ghosts, Reframe: The (In)Hospitable World
Photograph: Asian Film Archive

Reframe: An (In)Hospitable World

Things to do Film events Oldham Theatre, City Hall

Explore the power of cinema with the Asian Film Archive's latest Reframe programme: An (In)Hospitable World. Screened at the Oldham Theatre, the programme spotlights thought-provoking films from Germany, Armenia, and the Philippines, among others, that capture the current ecological and environmental crises, while pushing audiences to see the world through various lenses, beyond conventional human perspectives. Must-see titles include Island of the Hungry Ghosts which is set on Christmas Island, Tak Lub which follows survivors of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, and Nothing to be Afraid Of which documents five female mine clearers on their risky job.

Scribble Town
Photograph: National Heritage Board

Scribble Town

Kids Exhibitions Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall, Novena

Whether you've fallen victim to bullying or have been on the other end of it, reflect your own experiences with this interactive exhibition at Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall (SYSNMH). Especially for kids aged between nine and 12, the exhibition features comic artwork that takes visitors on a quest to save the fictional world of Scribble Town alongside characters Sam, Dan, and Lydia. Through the adventure, observe the interactions between the characters and gain a better understanding of the different types of bullying, how and why bullying occurs, and the corresponding impact on the involved parties.

Hanging Garden, Pocket Gardens Surprise
Photograph: Gardens by the Bay

Pocket Gardens Surprise

Things to do Gardens by the Bay, Marina Bay

Take a closer look at every nook and cranny of the Flower Dome at Gardens by the Bay, and you might just find a mini garden. No two are the same as these mini garden displays rotate every fortnight as part of the Pocket Gardens Surprise. For a limited time only, snap a selfie next to a giant teacup at It’s Always Tea Time (until October 11), marvel at the dreamy canopy of trailing flowering and foliage plants at Hanging Gardens (until October 25), take respite amidst the luscious shades of green at An Urban Oasis (October 5 to November 1), and observe the versatility of ornamental epiphytic plants at Plant Library (October 12 to November 8).

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