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Halloween News: How Universal is selling Halloween in Singapore

September 11, 2014, 12:16 PM · This time next week will be Halloween Event Eve in southern California as we’re just eight days away from opening night for Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood (and Orlando, for that matter). While those events are wrapping up construction and getting ready to put on their show, their sister event in Singapore’s fourth year doesn’t get going until Oct. 4.

Minister of Evil at Universal Studios Singapore
The Minister of Evil is the focus of this year's event in Singapore.

Singapore is a fairly new event -- and a fairly new park, for that matter. In a country where Halloween is not quite what it is in the United States (understatement warning), Universal Studios has put together a very strong event over the past four years. While Halloween-mania seems to have driven theme park Halloween events to what they are now in America, the opposite is happening in Singapore.

“Personally, I think that the celebration did not influence the popularity of Halloween Horror Nights,” said Low Hao Jie, a theme park fan in Singapore, in an email. “It is more like the other way round. A large scale Halloween event by Universal actually makes people perceive Halloween as a larger event than before and get more people interested.”

In America, we talk about traditional events becoming commercialized like it's the weather -- but in Singapore, it appears that Halloween has found a sponsor of sorts to grow its popularity. I asked Low about the buzz surrounding Halloween Horror Nights Singapore.

“The majority of people who are talking about Halloween are between ages of 18 and 25, particularly among Polytechnic and Institute of Technical Education (ITE) students,” said Low. “It is noteworthy that the Sentosa Spooktacular event (the other major Halloween event in Singapore) is actually planned by students of local Polytechnics, and I think this is why Halloween activities are so popular with students.”

Students taking chief interest in Halloween Horror Nights certainly isn’t specific to Singapore, but it appears they make up a much higher percentage of the demographic than they do in north America. For instance, these “road shows” target students specifically by setting up booths at universities across the city. That’s something I haven’t heard of happening in America and is certainly a notch above the leave-a-stack-of-coupons-at-Carl's-Jr advertising that is typical this time of year.

He went on to say that most of the discussion is generic and surface level and that mainstream media coverage is limited -- that all sounds pretty much the same as it is in the states. Halloween as a holiday faces many obstacles in Singapore, but acceptance of the holiday isn’t particularly important from Universal’s perspective. If they put on a good event (as they have a habit of doing) people will show up, even if there isn’t rampant Trick-or-Treating happening in the streets of Singapore.

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You have to wait a week (or more) to get into a Universal event, but Halloweekends at Cedar Point kicks off tomorrow! Go now before northern Ohio decides to skip fall and enter winter without warning! Will Cedar Point avenge its defeat in the hallowed Golden Ticket Awards by putting on its best event yet? (Probably not. It should still be fun though.)

Kids can visit SeaWorld San Diego free* (*with the purchase of an adult admission) in October, and they can do it in costume. SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular runs on the following dates in southern California: Sept. 27–28, Oct. 4–5, Oct. 11–12, Oct. 18–19 and Oct. 25–26, 2014. It appears to feature much of what most of the kid-friendly Halloween events offer: candy, shows and costumes. But SeaWorld has whales, which seems to be an unfair advantage.

With the season firmly upon us… where are you going for Halloween this year? Bring back your reports and drop them in the comments as the weeks roll on, we would love to hear from you!

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