LAHORE: Several schools arranged their annual carnivals over this weekend to coincide with Halloween, sparking a rush to get costumes for children across the city.
But apart from the few who had planned in advance and had customised costumes produced by their tailors, novel Halloween outfits were hard to find. The Early Learning Centre (ELC) and Next stores in Defence and the Mall of Lahore were the only ones carrying costumes for children aged between 5 and 12. They included fairy, vampire, spider, doctor, witch and nurse costumes.
The ELC store in Defence ran out of costumes due to its location, said an employee, but its other outlet in the Mall Of Lahore had a wider range with stocks lasting until Halloween night (Sunday). Another employee at the Mall of Lahore believed parents purchased the costumes at prices between Rs2,500 and Rs4,000 “as no decent alternative is available in the market”.
Al Fatah, Pot Pourri and The Shoppe, besides carrying their regular Spiderman and Batman costumes, also sold accessories like masks, wigs, face crayons and Halloween makeup. Animal costumes available at Al Fatah were cheaper than those at ELC and Mothercare at Rs695 a piece. A mother looking for a costume for her five-year-old at Mothercare in Defence eventually settled on a pumpkin outfit. “If I’d had time I could have come up with something better because I had brilliant ideas for costumes,” she said. “But tailors here never finish a job on time so I decided not to risk it.”
A teacher at Lahore Grammar School in Defence said most students came in normal clothes for their Saturday carnival. Apart from the cost and inconvenience of a costume, she said, many parents believed Halloween to be ‘un-Islamic’.
The Lahore American School held its Halloween carnival on Friday, with kids of all ages dressing in fancy costumes. Many younger kids came dressed as tigers and pumpkins.
The LGS event had a girls-and-mothers theme. Many girls chose to come as witches, bats, skeleton, spiders and goats, with the younger ones dressed as fairies or bears. Several kids said they had got their costumes during trips abroad. Some had relatives in the US and UK who sent them costumes every year.
Middle-school girls, aged 8 to 12, dressed as characters from horror movies such as Scary Movie, Hostel and The Exorcist. Some had help with their costumes from Madihas, a salon famous for its bridal makeup. An exhibition selling Halloween accessories and costumes for children was also organised at the salon.
Mothers also came in costume, with the best dressed mother judged to be a ‘90s punk. She was rewarded with Maria B dresses. The 60 best dressed girls were handed goodie bags containing candies.
A Halloween event was also held at The New School.
Meanwhile, several Halloween parties were held across the city on Saturday night. Imtisal Zafar, who runs Verve Event Management Company, said he had organised a graveyard theme party attended by celebrities and foreigners. “Our guests have the resources to spend as much as it takes to make a costume,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 1st, 2010.
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