From clubs to kindergarten. There’s a massive age shift in the Halloween takers this year. And instead of waiting for All Hallow’s eve (October 31), which falls on Thursday, kids centres and activity-based play centres have decided to cash in their chips as early as this weekend. Says Asha Sampath of Tail Spin, “We’re planning a Halloween storytelling session, which I don’t think has been done before in Chennai.” Storyteller Sandhya Ruban will play the dual role of a wicked witch and a slayer-of-all-evil prince...”It’s fictitious,” Sandhya laughs, “but spells are going to be cast, I’m getting my witch hat out and I know the kids are going to love the rainbow magic wand I’m going to pass around!” Are parents okay with having their kids spooked as part of the festive mood? “We’ve had a great response from parents,” responds Asha. “And the idea will be tone down the scary elements so that they become humorous and fun, rather than morbid,” she explains.
And while Jack-o-lanterns and trick-o-treating will not be a common sight in Chennai’s residential neighbourhoods, it turns out quite a few kiddie educational and play zones in the city have invested heavily in these festival attractions. Vanilla Place, an activity-based learning space for toddlers has actually taken inspiration from the club vibe and will host a disco night for their patrons, age four and above on Sunday evening. “We’ve hired a DJ and instructed him specifically have plenty of eerie tunes on his setlist,” smiles, Srilekha V, the general manager at the centre. Off the top of her head, she says with a laugh, “I’m hoping for MJ (Thriller) and the Adam’s family theme.”
The biggest investment for an Halloween-do is the set up. Between skeletons in closets and glow-in-the-dark ghosts, the devil is always in the little details. This is why Chandni Khanna, director of the popular kids library, Hippocampus at Indira Nagar decided to step things up our notch. “I’m having our volunteers dress up at props,” she laughs. “You know one is going to be a tantric, another is going to be a coffin, there will be a witch leading the kids inside the library for our black and white theme party,” she adds, evidently excited to see how it turns out. Beyond the games and face painting lined up, even the refreshments are themed around the Halloween hype. Green slime in a cup, anyone?