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This year, we ditched our usual hitting the clubs for some island spookfest in Sentosa Spooktacular.
Some snippets of information for my international readers and the uninitiated locals:
Sentosa, which translates to peace and tranquility in Malay, is a popular island resort in Singapore. Attractions include pristine white sandy beaches, the Imbiah look out, Fort Siloso, two golf courses and two five-star hotels. It is also where the Resorts World Sentosa (where the casino is) and Singapore's only theme park --Universal Studios Singapore-- are located.
Click on the Sentosa official site to see a beautifully illustrated 3D map of the island.
Now a beautiful attraction, Sentosa is rumoured to be haunted at certain areas. Its old name, Pulau Blakang Mati, which in Malay means the "Island (pulau) of Death (mati) from Behind (blakang)" does sound ominous, don't you think? Historical accounts suggest rampant piracy, murder, diseases and infertile soil as the reasons for its name.
This is just my personal opinion but I do hear that most of the ghostly sightings come in the form of WWII ghosts.
During the Second World War, the island was a British military fortress. Following the surrender of the Allied Forces on February 15, 1942, the island became a prisoner of war camp, housing Australian and British prisoners of the Japanese. During the Japanese Occupation, under the Sook Ching Operation, Chinese men who were suspected, often arbitrarily, of being involved in anti-Japanese activities were brutally killed. The beach at Pulau Blakang Mati was one of the killing fields.
Over the years, many sighted soldiers marching out from nowhere and disappearing. Well, I do hope people that night did not see other soldiers except for us. Anyway, I do love Sentosa since young because I had many fun-filled excursions there as a young child. I loved it whenever, my school organised such events at Sentosa. The whole island has certainly changed a lot since then and many of the old attractions are now defunct or demolished to make way for the resorts.
For the Halloween Spooktacular event, the highlights included turning some places at the Imbiah Lookout into ghosts trails.
Haunted Trail 1 -- The Merlion
Ordered by the first late ruler of East Asia, a powerful curse was cast upon the forbidden island of Pulau Hantu to prevent the theft of the world's most sought after treasure. For centuries, many have battled through raging storms, death traps and unknown mystical creatures to steal the treasures but all have lost their lives. Will you be next the next to sink or swim?
Haunted Trail 2 -- Images of Singapore
Since the 1950s, there's been a wax museum that's rumoured to be haunted. Inside, a disfigured wax artist is said to be turning people into wax figurines. They say that there is nothing scarier than being waxed alive, but it's up to you to find out. Only if you dare.
Haunted Trail 3 -- Images of Singapore
Back in the 1960s, there was a local village with a Bomoh who was obsessed over finding a cure for her mentally ill husband. She experimented on villagers using black magic and witchcrafts. The nightmare began when both she and the village turned crazy. Do you have the guts to fight off the insanity?
Haunted Trail 4 -- Tiger Sky Tower
They say that something terrifying is in the air. The higher it gets, the more the horror escalates. Get ready for a truly haunting experience of sight, sound and light!
Putting some "hallo" into the "ween". How could we give up dressing up just coz we're not going to a party?
The making of SALT.
My edible fake blood recipe:
- Cochineal liquid food colouring.
They don't call it red! I had a hard time looking for RED colouring in all the supermarkets.
- Karo Corn Syrup
It's totally clear unlike using corn starch
- Corn Starch (optional)
I tried this with the red first to see if the chalkiness would affect the effect of the blood. It did somehow.
- Hershey's Chocolate (in a squeeze bottle)
This thickens the blood and adds a hint of brown to the otherwise bright red solution.
My wound recipe:
- Plain flour dough
You do know how to make dough from flour and water right? When dough is elastic, pull some amount out, spread and shape it over the part of your skin where you want the wound/ scar to be. Remember, it doesn't have to be uniformed. No scars are.
- Red, yellow & blue body paint and brush
Paint on the colours till you get the wound effect.
- Eyeshadow of various bruise and wound colours to blend
The wound effect may look a little 2D. Use eyeshadows to create depth.
- Liquid glue
To hold the dough on and to make sure it doesn't fall off when dry.
The dough method was not thought out by me. Most of the videos I watched on youtube used theatre wax and rubber prosthetics for wounds. We had no time and had to improvise. Then, I stumbled onto a girl's video where she suggested using dough. She cautioned about the risk of having the dough dropping off when it dries. Hence, we improvised by smearing liquid glue over the whole wound, followed by fake blood. Our wounds lasted quite long as you can see.
Voila! We're done!
Next 2 shots were taken by my little (19 years old but little in my eyes) brother-in-law who was quite amused by our enthusiasm.
We look cool so now what we need are cool codenames.
Our codenames for the night
Don't you know? You can't address one another by name or the ghost would call out your name too.
Finally we reached our destination.
The island was teeming with humans of all shapes and sizes, races and religions, young and old. It was the first time I saw so many people at one location in Sentosa. There were snaking queues for the trams and buses. Many were wowed by our themed dressing and wounds. As it wasn't a partying event, 98% of the visitors were not dressed up and so we stood out like a wounded thumb.
Pun totally intended. I know it's supposed to be sore thumb
We do see some people wearing various hats and headbands. I recall a huge guy who wore fairy wings. A group of cool people dressed similar to gothic Visual Kei with darkly lined eyes. A huge entourage of 15 wore black cloaks, one of whom called out to me before I realised it was the sister of my buddy.
Some kids were scared by our wounds and we had groups of parents approaching us and explaining to their kids in closer proximity to us that our wounds were not real while requesting for us to tell the kids ourselves as a proof that they weren't lying. I thought it was hilarious.
Most people just pointed at us and went "Army girls" or "GI-Jane". Some could actually whisper among themselves if gera was "Lady Gaga" while Tiff was ecstatic when someone called her "Lara Croft". For that whole night, she was so proud of her outfit.
Funny incident #1
The girl manning the tram queue asked, "Are you girls from the Spooktacular team?"
We finally met and recruited zombie army boy into our team
Funny incident #2
Army zombie boy was sitting against the pillar waiting for us and people actually wanted to take photos with him thinking he's part of the Spooktacular team.
The Spooktacular journey begins...
As no photography was allowed in the "haunted"trails, you only get to see photos of us while in the queue.
When every meamber of the team was present, we embarked on a perilous journey to take on the ghosts and ghouls. First stop was to comb the haunted asylum, not knowing what to expect.
There were some house rules to follow like no snapping pictures of the ghosts or they would follow you home, no touching of the ghosts as they would not touch you as well (BIG FAT LIAR!), covering your head and squatting down if you're afraid and could not bear with it while help would be on the way.
I hated all the sudden jumping out from nowhere and ear-piercing scream and would jump up when these happened. However, I kept myself sane by reminding myself that these were just people in disguise and after that I was pretty fearless.
I hated the creature that looked like one of the undeads from Will Smith's I am Legend. We used our guns to mock-shoot it and it pretended to fall down dead. When we continued walking for at least 6 metres, it suddenly stood up with a hunch, screeched and sprinted towards us in a werewolf-like manner. CHL and I were the last in the line and we actually ran. Zombie boy came to the rescue by planting himself in between us and that vermin and I dunno what happened after that for CHL and I had since ran out of that area into the next room.
That was the only time I felt my heart in my mouth. Salute that actor!
This is a triumphant shot of us after taking on the ghosts and ghouls.
Everyone wants a piece of zombie boy. He's like Frankenstein, parts sewn together and could blend in with the other beings without notice. In fact, he even pretended to be the ghost in the trails. He was so into character and did not laugh a single bit even when we were all laughing away hysterically.
A group shot before scaling the Tower of fear
The queue was even longer than the asylum due to the limited number of people the ride could hold at any given moment.
We got so bored in the queue that we decided to die of boredom by killing ourselves.
This was totally not scary at all. We were half expecting ghosts to crawl under the seat or all over the window but there was nothing of that sort. Instead, we were treated to the beautiful city nightscape of Singapore while thrilling music crescendoed in the background, coupled with a play in lighting. However, we were more of looking at our reflections and doing actions in accordance to the music. It was a downer ride but we were cool coz it usually cost $28 to take the Tiger Sky Tower ride on normal days.
Next on our list was the Wax Museum trail where needless to say, there was an extremely long queue. When the attendants suggested for half the people in the queue to visit the Merlion instead as the queue was shorter, we insisted that it might not have been that haunting and hence the reason for the short queue.
We lamented that we were disappointed by the Tower of Fear and did not want to be disappointed again too soon. The attendant himself blurted out, "No la. It's not as bad."
"Not as bad?" We were even more determined to stay put after he uttered that. If the time ran out, at least we would not feel unjustified forgoing the Merlion trail.
Everyone said the Wax Museum was really good so I went in with high expectations. I felt the wax figurines were more eerie than the actors. The former simply looked like they had a live of their own too. There was a part where there was a bottle-neck effect so we could hear the other groups screaming in the rooms ahead.
Sick of our cool look? We'll smile for you.
Last stop was the Merlion. It was way past the closing time stated on the ticket but we went there all the same. There was a non-existent queue and one of us asked if it was closed. To which the attendant said,
"If you're ready, we are ready for you."
Yippee! So we needn't forgo anything after all.
It was quite a fun location and seriously underrated. The ghosts were so bored with the lack of queue for this location that they even answered us when we talked to them. By right, the actors had to get into character and were not allowed to talk to visitors. However, the ghosts there were all rule-breakers. Me likey! I screamed at one of them right in the face in a taunting manner (Yes, I know I'm very annoying) which led it to follow me all the way. I felt somthing tapping me continuously but I refused to turn. When it got impatient enough, I heard someone calling my name!
Then, the "tapper" drifted past me, stood in front of me and glared angrily. So I asked politely, "Excuse me, can you let me pass?" He did not budge. I tapped his left arm motioning him to move aside. He then drifted behind Lara and I kept hollering to her not to turn since she would have assumed that I was safely behind her. She kept her head down and refused to look at him too. I pitied that ghost for all his scaring efforts were futile. In the end, he stopped and held the the door open for us to the next room.
If you're wondering about the calling out of my name, it was actually one of my frenz who wanted me to see the dejected look on the "ghost's" face since his attempt to get me to turn was fruitless. Haha... Did you just think that the "ghost" knew my name? =D
The ghosts in the next room were topless (they were all guys...duh) with disshevelled long hair and had eyes painted all over them which glowed under the UV light.. They moved in a trancelike manner as if under a spell. They started crowding around us as if to "devour" us.
I peered at their faces and suddenly exclaimed, "I love your eyes! Are they painted onto your lids?"
All along, no ghosts answered me whenever I spoke to them. To my surprise, they answered in a hissing growl, "Nooooooooo..... They are opennnnnnned....." They then blinked their eyes a few times for us to see the difference.
"Cool!!! How do your real eyes glow like that?" I enthused.
"It's the lights..." moaned one of them in slow mo.
They then started pulling lightly at and twirling Gaga's hair moaning that they loved her hair as we slowly made our way out.
Love the ghosts there! We even bade one another goodbye.
One of the few "outside" ghosts who got accosted by us
I dunno why we didn't really accost the other outside ghosts to snap pictures. We were probably too enthusiastic to reach the queue.
Pre and post thoughts:
The majority of us hadn't planned to forgo clubbing entirely and thought that this event would be a prelude, with the actual partying as planned on the 30th since most clubs usually hold their halloween event on the Saturday itself.
As there were only limited dates available and one of us could only make it on the 30th which rules out any partying, there was some accomodating to be done.
All of us knew that the fun in all our halloween comes during the making up process. It was an unspoken tradition to gather at my place (currently my parents' home) every halloween. We could spend 3 to 4 hours dolling up and helping one another with the make up while laughing hysterically till our sides split due to all the funny little comments that we made. I really relish these moments. My family members would be very entertained by us and would constantly popped in to see what we were up to. My amused sisters would start snapping pictures of us, adding to our storage of memories.
I felt a little disappointed at the turn of events but was determined to keep up with the tradition. I started pondering about whether we should include dress up this year. I discussed with tiff and we kept thinking along the lines of island theme, comfortable outfits that would not cause too much perspiration in humid places, comfortable footwear for trekking and something cheap and practical.
Then one fine day, "army" just popped into my mind. It matched all the criteria and the best of all, we could still look cool with bags to put our stuff. Moreover, most of us have existing army green stuff and only needed to add on some accessories. Army-related "costume"could also be worn out on normal occasions so no worries on wasting money on costumes. Plus I got to use my black lipstick in the end.
The rest was history.
How did you spend your Halloween? Did you dress up? Did you go for some haunted trail? I would love to hear from you!