Trick or Treat?

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How spooky Halloween is getting culturally closer to Pune

The Celtic harvest ritual may have been a ‘borrowed from Europeans’ tradition in the USA, but young Indians and Punekars are embracing it like they know the value of a good ritual.

Of what started as a trend to show our affinity to the west, the traditional values associated with Halloween are now gaining popularity with those who celebrate. Though the signature trick-or-treat and carving of lanterns out of pumpkins is synonymous with Halloween celebrated worldwide, it does have significant and deep-rooted beliefs in the good, evil, and balance between these two forces.

The surge in usage of social media, the inclusion of Hollywood movies in mainstream entertainment, and NRIs bringing back home a culture shift are just some of the contributory factors for the rise in Halloween celebrations. But, Halloween hasn’t escaped a desi transformation just like everything that needs to be tweaked to suit our tastes. Our city is no doubt a melting pot of cultural diversity and the way Punekars celebrate Halloween stands testimony of our inclusive attitude towards all things new and exciting. Let’s take a look:-

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Horror in the oven: Over the years, the city has witnessed a creative ascent when it comes to baking and cooking Halloween inspired goodies. From cookies baked to look like grisly fingers, a human brain lookalike in a cake to eye cake popsicles; it gets gory and dreadful in every celebration the city hosts. True to the spirit of the festival that urges to ward off evil spirits and reconcile with the dead, the innovations are par excellence. Only, who manages to gorge on them finger-licking clean is for everyone to see!

Call for costumes:  Imagination knows no bounds when Halloween enthusiasts dress up to literally kill! City-based costume rental shops have experienced a surge in costume rentals during Halloween over the years. From basic props like artificial fangs, faux insects, fake claws, zombie heads, capes, masks, and swords to complete ensembles inspired by morbid movie characters and skins from the gaming world; children, teenagers, and youngsters alike throng these rental shops to up their dressing game.

Movie Night: Where’s the fun without some popcorn and fright! This year may call for toned down celebrations but Punekars are always full of enthusiasm. BFFs Saakshi Jadhav and Aarya Soni are hosting a horror movie night for their limited gang right in their balcony. Complete with a Horror movie theme and dress up in your favorite macabre character, the girls mentioned that the idea clicked since they had earlier attended an Open Air Horror Movie screening right here in Pune a couple of years ago. Goes on to show, Punekars are always up to something!

A dark house full of awfulness and yet a celebratory thread to it, Halloween – a pagan festival that blurs the line between living and dead, has moved on to become a popular rage amongst elite and young Punekars for more reasons than one.

How are you celebrating this year?

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