Monday, November 1, 2010

In for a Spooktacular Surprise

Singapore’s largest Asian-themed Halloween returns to haunt the shores of Sentosa

Pale floating shapes and bloodied bodies with deep, ugly lacerations and darkened eye sockets beckoned. Sentosa was transformed at sundown; ghastly characters crept out from their daytime hiding places and infiltrated the crowd of thrill-seekers.

Sentosa Spooktacular received an overwhelming response for the five evenings, over the two weekends which it was held, from 22 to 23 October and from 29 to 31 October, receiving a total turnout of 12200 guests. “Tickets were sold out for every evening and ticket sales increased at least a hundred percent from last year,” said Low Keng Kwok, Senior Manager, Sentosa Attractions Management Unit.

This year, the event featured an expanded dark force, with dozens of Asian ghouls, ruling over four distinct venues. Two of the attractions are located within the Images of Singapore (The Haunted Asylum and the Dead or Alive Wax Museum), one at The Merlion (Cursed Island) and lastly the Tiger Sky Tower (Tower of Fear).

The haunted Asylum is modeled as a cannibal village on Pulau Hantu. With its inhabitants killed by plague, their violently out of control souls are still trapped within the village. Whereas The Dead or Alive Wax Museum is a labyrinth of dead bodies preserved in wax, after the resident artist went insane and murdered everyone, turning them into his works of art.

More horror awaited guests in The Merlion where zombie pirates and mysterious monsters lurked under the sea. The Tower of Fear offered a terrifyingly-elevated experience, taking guests 131 metres above sea level, and there, they were greeted by a ghostly audio experience and other spooks.

The multi-sensory Spooktacular featured sound effects, special lighting effects and movie-quality costumes and makeup. The production involved a cast of 100 performers, makeup artists and costume designers and took three months to prepare. The cast consisted of industry professionals as well as approximately 40 volunteers of alumni and undergraduates from Temasek Polytechnic’s course of Leisure and Resort Management, Hospitality and Tourism Management and Accounting and Finance.

Developed in conjunction with Temasek Polytechnic, Sentosa Spooktacular is under the Sentosa Apprentice Programme. This programme, which started in 2008, aims to provide students specializing in Festivals and Events Management for the diploma in Leisure and Resort management, and the Diploma in Hospitality and Tourism Management, an opportunity to acquire hands-on learning experience.

Students worked in groups to submit an event proposal of various themes and the winning team gets the opportunity to intern in Sentosa. Spooktacular was the brain child of the winning team of this scheme in 2008. It was also this group of LRM students who coined the name Spooktacular and interned with Sentosa Leisure Group to make the event come true in 2009. The four students from the winning team this year are now interns with Sentosa, and are part of the main committee which planned and managed the 2010 event, with guidance from Sentosa’s events team.

“While Halloween has been a western-celebrated holiday, Singaporeans have in recent years grown to embrace the festival. When we held the inaugural Spooktacular last year, the response was overwhelming. This was a happy problem for the team, even if we had to extend the operational hours just to manage the crowds,” said Jimmy Wong, Events Director, Sentosa Leisure Group.

Sentosa Spooktacular and Night Safari’s Halloween Horrors are the largest and most anticipated Halloween events in Singapore especially amongst youths. On the competition from The Night Safari (with Ngee Ann Polytechnic), Low Keng Kwok, Senior Manager, Sentosa Attractions Management Unit expressed, “We don’t see it as a competition. We see it as jointly holding the events to spur on the mood of Halloween for Singaporeans.”

“I really enjoyed Spooktacular this year, the sets and characters were very well designed and convincing and the trails were very scary, I would definitely come back again next year,” shared Haslina Lin, 23, HR Assistant.

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