The spine-chilling horror has its own charm and party goers can’t wait to get ready for the Halloween bash, writes Pritha Banerjee
When I think of Halloween’s Day, my mind suddenly goes off to what I am used to seeing in a Hollywood movie. It involves series of activities like trick-or-treating and carving jack-o-lanterns. Halloween’s Day in India is not like how they celebrate in western countries. Well, it was not at all a celebration a few years back. But, for the partygoers in the city, Halloween’s day is on the rise, even though it is not that popular as compared to other festivals in our country.
Halloween, better known as the day of the dead, is originated from an ancient Celtic Festival called Samhain. Traditionally, it is quite similar to many Indian festivals where we light fire to ward off evil spirits. According to the European tradition, this day is marked as the end of summer harvest and is the beginning of the dark, cold winter. It is that time of year that is often associated with human death. The Celts believed that on this night the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead blurred. Thus, on the night of October 31, they celebrated Samhain, built huge sacred bonfires and wore costumes, typically consisting of animal heads and skins.
But here’s the catch, the festival of Halloween or the All Hallows Eve is nothing like the century-old tradition anymore. By the time the holiday came to America the actual meaning of the occasion changed and a new tradition was born. According to the reports in BBC, Americans spend an estimated $6 billion annually on Halloween, making it the country’s second largest commercial holiday after Christmas. Just like any other Western countries even India is not far behind in celebrating an occasion to dress-up and party.
It’s not surprising to see a lot of boys and girls playing dress-up in real life because Halloween is one occasion where people can be whatever they want to be even if it’s only for an evening. Having said that let me remind you the celebration is still limited to the elite group (mostly the jet-setting upper and the upper middle-class families). Most of the theme-parties are organised in high-class restaurants and cafes that mostly attracts these crowds.
Razul K, a manager from an event management company in Chennai, says, “Though the fascination for Halloween is a recent phenomenon, the Hollywood movies entered into our lives post Liberalisation era. The 90s kids who grew up watching movies like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and read comics of zombies and vampires were mostly the ones who could afford a television set and have been educated in English medium schools. Thus, even now only a limited number of people in India are actually aware of the existence of this holiday.”
Most of the people who were attending Halloween parties when asked about it were either unaware of its history or considered it to be any theme parties. Kanishka Sharma, a college student from Bangaluru, says, “When I first attended a Halloween’s party, I was informed it was a theme-party and I needed to dress-up as one of my favourite fictional characters. However, it was not mandatory. Later, when I reached the party, I was really amazed to see a lot of people who actually dressed-up as characters from various movies.”
Where’s the party?
Though many of the restaurants and clubs are actually looking forward to turning this day into a big theme-based party event, Halloween can be the perfect opportunity if you are looking forward to bring a new culture to your group. “A house-party gets more interesting when everything, from decoration to food and drinks, follows the spooky theme. A classic Bloody Mary cocktail with some unusual garnishing could be an ideal choice for a drink,” says chef Amlan Mondal.
“You don’t have to whip-up some extra-ordinary dishes to make them look different. With the right garnishing, you can make any food look repelling, spooky, creepy and fun. Since pumpkins are famous during Halloween and are also in the season it can be a base for most of your dishes,” adds Mondal.
Samir Sharma, who created a range of various cocktails, believes that a party is not over until you have had the perfect drink of the night. “We choose a bold colour like red for the obvious reason and cranberry juice gives you that colour. However, a straight-up cranberry juice can be so tart that it tastes more like medicine so mix it sprite or OJ to cancel out the bitterness. Then, it can be one incredible cocktail for your Halloween party.”
If you are a sweet-tooth and want to try out some cake recipes, Anita Dasgupta, a baker from Kolkata, suggests Red Velvet Cake. Of course, with a creepy red icing! “While your families won’t be expecting apple pies, Rava Kesari and garnishing it with cashew and raisins can be a nice Halloween surprise,” she adds.
Finally, it all depends on how creative you can get with your food drinks and decoration. After all, Halloween’s Day is a celebration of fun and creativity. So, go ahead, and play dress-up to your heart’s content!