How Egyptians got freaky in Halloween

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Ladies and gentlemen, step right up if you dare, for All Hallow’s Eve is a time to get freaky!

Although partying on Halloween in Egypt has usually been the preserve of expats and the Zamalek-set, it is becoming trendier each year.

Everyone has a freak inside them and the 31st of October is the time to unleash yours! It’s that time of year when ghouls and goblins, heroes and villains, masked men and laced-up ladies take to the streets; trick or treating from door-to-door and partying into the wee hours of the night.

Dark Desires Tabla Sokhna – Cairo Zoom

Halloween had its beginnings in an ancient, pre-Christian Celtic festival of the dead. The Celtic peoples divided the year by four major holidays. Their new year began on the 1st of November by our present calendar, the festival to mark the event was called Samhain. It was the largest and most significant holiday of the Celtic year. Samhain became the Halloween we are familiar with when Christian missionaries attempted to change and incorporate the religious practices of the Celtic people.

Bam Boo Halloween at Bamboo – Cairo Zoom

Many remaining Halloween traditions can be traced to the ancient Celtic day of the dead. Halloween is a holiday of mysterious customs and most have an interesting history behind them. For instance, wearing costumes and roaming from door to door can be traced to the Celtic period when it was thought that the souls of the dead were at unrest, along with fairies, witches, and demons. This practice is called mumming, from which the practice of trick-or-treating evolved.

In Egypt, Halloween can be a tricky thing. Costume sellers are almost non-existent and outfits can be hard to find, especially for adults, what’s more the party scene is extremely exclusive. But if you persevere, you can create a Halloween night that you shall not forget.

The easiest way to come by a Halloween outfit in Cairo is to simply create your own. Options are endless when you’re creative. Some of your old clothes can be played around with, sleeves can be cut off, bed sheets can become Roman robes.

Another option would be to go around Downtown Cairo to find costume renting shops; try Aseela or Mar’y for instance. For the ladies, Goth chicks are easily imitated. You can find some make-up and black nail polish to play the character, and you’ll be ready to look underfed and over-suicidal in a second.

For extremely cheap Halloween items, you can pass by one of the nameless shops on Qasr Al-Aini Street, where you’ll find wigs, fake make-up items, vampire teeth and plastic noses. These shops look like a hole in the wall, but the deeper you go through their jumbled items, the more Halloween treasures you will find.

This year’s festivities included Cirque Du Freak at Cairo Jazz Club, Halloween Party at Crooners in Hurghada and Halloween at Pacha in Sharm, among many others. Private parties played-out from Sakkara to Maadi, Kitkat to Garden City rooftops and we heard about heated swimming pools, Nile cruis boats and, of course, trick-or-treating for adults!