Let your freak flag high on October 31 when the world welcomes hell – we mean, Halloween. But why October 31? The spookfest originally started over 2,000 years back as the ancient Gaelic festival of Samhain (pronounced 'sow-in') in Ireland. It marks the end of the harvest, welcoming new beginnings on All Hallows' Day on November 1. However, the superstitious Celts believed that the baddies from hell would descend onto earth for a day of carnage on All Hallows' Eve. What a nightmare.
Nowadays, instead of hiding in the corner of your bedroom, Halloween is a great excuse to get your freak on. Singapore may not have the orange autumn season, but we sure have 'em pumpkins. From haunted houses riddled with the Asian supernatural to a massive Nerf battle against zombies, it's time to dust off your witch's hat, summon the coven and party past the witching hour. Here's your guide to a devilishly good Halloween.
RECOMMENDED: The best things to do in October
Walk down spooky lane
If exploring tombs is your kind of thing, get on a Bukit Brown walking tour by All Things Bukit Brown is a loose group of volunteers, promoting the heritage, habitat and history of Bukit Brown Cemetery.
Spooky stories Of course a cemetery more than 90 years old would have some tales to tell. There are many stories about pontianaks haunting the place and sightings of wandering spirits, perhaps of those who are buried there so if you're up to meet some spooky characters...
Although it's known for being a sleepy town in the corner of Singapore, Changi has a rich history that goes way back to the days of World War II. Hop on an informative tour with the award-winning group, Journeys.
Spooky stories Where do we begin? Changi's home to Singapore's most haunted place – Old Changi Hospital. The place might be a hotel now but it had been abandoned for a long time and known to be haunted those who died there when it was a wartime hospital. Just down the road is Changi Beach where the Sook Ching massacre happened.
Opened in 1937, this weird and wonderful park was named after its owners, Aw Boon Haw and Aw Boon Par, the brothers who made their fortune from the acclaimed cure-all ointment Tiger Balm (it’s also known as Tiger Balm Gardens). The park also holds Twilight Tours every Friday night to amp up the scare factor.
Spooky stories While not exactly paranormal, the highlight is the Ten Courts of Hell (responsible for childhood nightmares for generations of Singaporeans) where small-scale tableaux show human sinners being punished in a variety of hideous and bloodthirsty ways – in extremely gory and graphic detail. It’s a safe bet that you will never see anything like it anywhere else.
Explore the many nooks and crannies of Fort Canning Park and its many colonial-era relics, learn more about the paramount roles it played in the defence of the island and even before the British arrived, when it served as the residence of Malay royalty with guided tours by Battlebox.
Spooky stories Many have said that they felt like they were being 'watched' in the park and there's also the huge creepy tree in Fort Canning Green that exudes spooky vibes, especially if you're hanging out in the park around dusk.
Popular with joggers and water sports enthusiasts, Bedok Reservoir is an 88-hectare park in the east. The reservoir is a converted sand quarry but it also hold some dark secrets. While there are no official tours, you can explore the public park easily on your own.
Spooky stories With so many mysterious deaths surrounding this body of water, there will be strange stories. One of the more chilling ones is the drowning of a mother and young child – and they were dressed in red. Best to keep the jogging in the morning.
In a land-scarce city that hardly sleeps, even the dead can’t always find a proper resting place. We wander across the island in search of the most haunted places. Take note, while some are free and easy for you to explore, some of these spots are located on state land or private property so we wouldn't recommend checking it out – lest you get caught by something scarier than the ghouls: law enforcement. Happy hantu-hunting.
It's a modern world we live in now with advanced public transportation systems and super-futuristic buildings, but we're still the most superstitious people around. Our irrational belief in all things supernatural means age-old superstitions remain. From the ridiculous to the ones that hold some sort of logical explanation, let's talk superstitions.
Wear a scary mask
For the best collection
One of the longest-running costume shops in Singapore, Ministry of Costumes have a huge collection of costumes you can pick from, whether you're a baby or an adult. With over 30 years of experience and 25,000 costumes for rent, enter fantasy worlds and magical realms without busting your budget. Rental starts from as low as $20 for three days so get perusing for Halloween already.
For last-minute simple costumes
For over two decades, Party With Us has provided a one-stop party solution for customers in Bukit Timah Plaza. On top of the usual decorations, balloons, and party supplies, the store also has a neat collection of costumes for adults and kids. While the collection may not be large, you can get classic costumes like a priest, a ghoul and a knight.
Best for retro threads
Founded in 1998, CCM has built a reputation for its tailor-made costumes. Whether you're looking to rent costumes in bulk or buy made-to-measure outfits, or want some maintenance work done on your costume, just talk to the folks here. Your best option is to head down to the shop and trawl the shelves yourself – who knows what you'll find. For retro costumes, its wide range of ’60s, ’70s and ’80s gear is more than satisfactory.
Most might know Pan-In-The-Box as a cosplay shop after all, it has been around since 2003 and frequently participates in anime and cosplay events in Singapore. Come October, the shop gradually fills up with masks, wigs, capes and all sort of scary props you might need to embelish your Halloween outfit. There are costumes for both adults and children available for rental and purchase along with children-friendly animal masks. We even spotted a realistic rubber pig's head sitting on the top shelf – talk about freaky!
Best for custom-made outfits
It may have a heck of a tacky name, but the people at Awesome Costumes are serious when it comes to custom-made costumes. The company specialises in character and themed costumes, but it's up for almost any challenge you might have. Depending on the complexity of a request, it can take up to two months to complete a costume. So if you have something specific in mind, get your requests in early.
Best for pop culture pieces
Step through the doors and you’ll be greeted by an entire world of weird and wonderful costumes. From outfits to accessories to latex prosthetics for DIY wounds – whatever character you’ve got your heart set on this year, chances are this store has you covered. However, if you just want to have a quick browse for inspiration, its entire catalogue is computerised in-store, so you can easily see what’s available. Suicide Squad, superheroes, princesses and Game of Thrones outfits are just a few in its impressive range.
Best for sexy costumes
Halloween doesn’t have to be all about horror and gore: it can also be a night to let loose and embrace your fun or sexier side. Dimac Glam and Glitter stocks an extensive range of costumes – make as if you're from the renaissance age, a beer maiden, pirate or fairy – available in adult versions (read: all with very short skirts). It also stocks men’s and children’s costumes, with sizes ranging from toddler through to plus-size.
Best for Halloween classics
Don’t base your opinion of this place on its website: it doesn’t do it justice. The store is deceptively big – one small doorway leads to another massive room. The walls are overflowing with wigs, wings, masks, helmets, an extensive array of cowboy hats and lots of bling, including a giant dollar sign necklace. It specialises in mascot costumes (think Adventure Time characters and animal outfits), and it's especially popular during Halloween as it offers a wide range of the classics: zombies, witches, vampires and pirates with props to match.