Halloween fans go online to keep tradition alive

Published October 31, 2020, 9:24 AM

by Noreen Jazul

  • Dressing up as a character different from yourself attracts the Halloween fans to keep the party going online.
  • It takes a group of performers five hours to put on that Halloween look for the online stage.
  • Malls have also taken the Halloween celebration online.

Filipinos who celebrate Halloween are not going to let the COVID-19 pandemic take away the fun of something different, one of them dressing up costume parties.

(UNSPLASH / MANILA BULLETIN)

From the horror theme to the various characters in video games and movies, dressing up as someone so different from yourself has definitely charmed people of all ages and professions.

But with the health and safety protocols prohibiting large gatherings, Halloween fans are taking the parties to another address — online! And the creativity to spark the party mood is amazing!

John Paolo Mandac, a Human Resource professional who refuses to let go of years of dressing up for Halloween, has made a Maleficent costume out of recyclable materials.

He said that “growing up gay and closeted” required him to dress up as he was told. But on Halloween, he has a chance to dress up the way he likes without displeasing anyone.

“In the gay world, we call [Halloween] ‘Gay Christmas’,” Mandac said.

He said there’s no skipping Halloween this year despite the COVID-19 pandemic, because it’s a holiday that “speaks volumes” to him.

What Mandac likes the most about Halloween is being able to dress up. He said he has always liked Halloween since he was a kid but started really preparing to dress up for it in 2015.

“Most of my childhood, I remember going to SM Megamall with my mom and sister to Trick-or- Treat. That went on for several years,” he said.

“My mom would ask us to think of a character we would like to be that evening. And we had to be creative in making our costumes. It became a yearly bonding experience for us three,” he said.

From trick-or-treating in malls, Mandac turned to Halloween parties. This year, he joined several virtual Halloween parties, including one prepared by his office colleagues.

Mandac said that although the parties are “less grand” and all virtual, those were still Halloween parties.

“No brushing elbows with strangers definitely. No physical interaction, no getting drunk, no appreciating a stranger’s costume. Everything is virtual,” he said, adding that he’ll likely throw in a horror movie marathon on Netflix after the online parties.

The show must go on

A group of gay performers whose busiest time in a nightclub is Halloween, has prepared their “look” for the new online stage.

Since clubs have yet to open, Drag Queens Shewarma, Minty Fresh, Odasha — collectively known as Shemod — have taken their Halloween Drag show online.

“Pag Halloween nag re-ready talaga kami or may mga naka resereve na kaming looks (We really prepare for Halloween, our ‘look’ has already been planned),” Odasha told Manila Bulletin.

“Halloween is one of the most awaited events of the year in the nightclub,” Odasha said in Pilipino.

This year, the challenge of performing for a show online requires more effort to create a look, Minty Fresh said.

“Umaabot ng five hours yung preparation, kasi naayos kami, then mag seset up pa ng lighting (It takes us about five hours just to prepare, because we need to put on make-up, and then set up the stage and the lighting),” Minty Fresh said.

Friendly Halloween party

Meanwhile a group of high school friends have prepared to hold their yearly party online. Lace Azores, 25, a medical intern, said that for the first time in the seven years that they have been holding Halloween parties, this time he has prepared a program.

“Every year we would have a Halloween party where we dress up, wear costumes, celebrate, and we also have an award ceremony,” Azores said.

But since quarantine restrictions prevent a party, they prepared to meet for an online party.

“Usually kasi nag uusap usap lang kami pag mag kakasama kami physically. This time, may program akong prinepare, with games and awards, ‘Best in Costume’ ganyan (Usually, we would just talk to each other and share stories with each other during our physical parties. This time, I prepared a program, with games and awards like Best in Costume,” she said.

Although they will not be physically together, Azores said that she and her friends will still have fun. The only thing she will miss though will be the dancing.

And how will she dress up this year, we asked. Her reply: “As the coronavirus. Kasi ‘yan ang pinaka nakakatakot na nangyari this year (Because it’s the scariest thing that happened this year).”

Annual Halloween fest goes online

Meanwhile up north, the biggest Halloween bash in Ilocos Norte has also gone virtual.

“Semana Ti Ar-Aria” is a week-long festival in Ilocos Norte which highlights the distinct traditions and superstitions of Ilocanos in remembering their departed loved ones.

The festival which started in 2010 was started by former governor and now Senator Imee Marcos.

The activities will mostly be online. Among them are the +Halloween TikTok Transformation challenge and a blog-making contest called “Kaba-vloghan,” Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte Information Officer II Rhona Ysabel Daoang said

Other events are the “Lilia Cuntapay Short Horror Film Festival,” a film festival in honor of the Ilocana actress dubbed the “Queen of Philippine Horror Movies.”

Absent this year will be the Zombie Night Run and the ghost parade.

Mall activities go online

Shopping malls have also brought the Halloween tradition online.

Ayala Malls will host a virtual mall show Oct. 31

featuring characters such as Pinkfong and Baby Shark.

The mall also made an online challenge where participants have to dress up in a Halloween costume and record themselves doing the Baby Shark Hand Wash Challenge.

(Ayala Malls / MANILA BULLETIN)

The challenge winner will get a Prepaid WiFi modem. The challenge promo will run until Oct. 31 and the winner will be announced on the mall’s Facebook page on Nov. 6.

Events coordinator Katrina Loreto said most malls went for online promotions instead of staging an event.

“Before there were many events, every mall had a Halloween event. Now, it’s mostly online promotions,” Loreto told Manila Bulletin.

 
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