While Halloween is primarily a Western holiday, UAE denizens have never been a group to miss out on a celebration and a good time. With a high concentration of expats in the country, foreign holidays and celebrations often find their way over to the Gulf nation, which is a melting pot of different cultures.
This racially-diverse population has led to a greater openness to foreign cultures and holidays, and alas, Halloween has become a thing in the UAE – it’s not too widely popular, but its relevant enough to get people and venues excited for the upcoming festivities.
So, how has Dubai celebrated Halloween in recent years?
Festivals and concerts
The UAE is no stranger to festivals and huge concerts. Halloween is prime time for such mass celebrations, and last year saw event company 117Live host the Fiesta De Los Muertos, which saw some big international names attend such as British virtual band Gorillaz and Canadian Lebanese pop singer Massari.
This year’s event, however, has been postponed, with 117Live citing “logistical issues.” American star Nick Jonas, part of the now-defunct popular boyband the Jonas Brothers, was set to attend.
Hotels and other recreational venues find a great business opportunity in Halloween events. In previous years, hotels such as the Crowne Plaza and Hilton Hotel joined in on the festivities, hosting celebrations that incorporated the entire family, and not just youth.
As with any other national or international celebration, be it Eid or New Year’s, restaurants are often quick to launch some themed-deals and menus to please individuals celebrating, but it doesn’t stop there. Some, such as the Feast restaurant in Dubai, or Ruth’s Chris Steak House, took it to the next level by hosting a themed party to go along with the event. They even incorporated puzzles and activities to up the ante.
Children’s activity venues and entertainment hotspots
Children activity venues such as Atlantis Kids Club Monster House and Legoland provided a themed offering as well, taking kids on an engaging and imagination-fueled journey.
Yas Waterworld offered a pirate-themed experience for kids, while the Riverland mall in Dubai celebrated its first ever Halloween, where kids where given trick-or-treat bags to fill with sweet delights from participating cafes, restaurants and shops lining the streets, the National reported. Other themed activities were available.
Browse social media posts, and you’ll find plenty of scheduled self-hosted parties. Whether it is a gathering of students at a university club, or a meeting of costumed children in a home, UAE denizens always find a way to enjoy the festivities.
Costume crafting and role-playing, commonly known as cosplay, is growing in popularity as geek and otaku pop culture become more normalized. What better time to show off your costume-making skills than during Halloween?
All in all, the UAE is looking to recapture the festive buzz this year. Keep a lookout for our next article, where we highlight what businesses have got to gain from introducing promotions and activities during Halloween and other celebrations.