Tricks and treats

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Saigon gets a little scarier as its dwellers prepare to dance with the dark side on Halloween.

Until a few years ago, many in Vietnam had not heard of Halloween. Now it's all the rage with children and teenagers, and even with faddish adults who like to disguise themselves in fancy dress and make-up.

Halloween parties on and sometimes before October 31 are common in bars, coffee shops, hotels and foreign language schools.

That is why everyone is busy at the moment buying costumes and accessories that will make them stand out.

Vietnam's young people love to disguise themselves as souls from the supernatural world and show off their creativity.

Boisterous boys are fond of dressing in ghostly costumes while demure girls prefer hiding behind lovely masks or dressing like Cinderella. People turning themselves into cartoon characters such as Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck is also common.

In Hanoi, the AAC Language Training Center at 65 Quan Su Street, Hoan Kiem District will be holding a "Dancing with the Devil" Halloween party on October 31 starting at 7:45 p.m.

The party is for the young at heart, as long as they're older than 16, and will include pop music, Halloween dramas with lots of special effects, and games like the one where shriekers and screamers wander through a maze in search of the King and Queen.

For a cover charge of VND10,000-15,000, party guests can take part in weird entertainment such as the Death Songs, Interview with a Vampire, Shaking Hands with the Mummy, Conversation with Witches and the highlight of the evening: Dance of the Living and the Dead.

In Ho Chi Minh City, Dominic's Bar at 87b Nguyen Van Thu Street, District 1 will celebrate Halloween on October 30 starting at 7:45 p.m. Admission will be VND175,000.

It will be in direct competition with a masquerade party with dance bands, buffet and cocktails on the fifth floor of Alta Plaza at 91 B2 Pham Van Hai Street, Tan Binh District (VND99,000 cover charge).

The Atrium Café inside the Hotel Legend, 2A Ton Duc Thang Street, District 1 is also arranging a special treat for Halloween from six until ten with a cover charge of VND666,000 for adults and VND324,000 for kids.

Among the strange food on the Atrium's menu will be Asian Witch Soup, First Bite of Dracula the Vampire, Poisoned Crab, Pirate's Soul, Vampire's Choice, and desserts with a Halloween theme like Blood of Dracula and ice-cream in the shape of a witch's hat.

There'll also be wine, café, beer soft drink and tea with a Halloween bent.

For those who like to drink their poison, the Blue Ghost or Vampire's Kiss specialty drinks at Sheraton Saigon's haunted house will send shivers up the spine.

Sheraton's party will hand out prizes to the male and female winners of the evening's best-dressed contest while resident band Liquid will play dance tunes until late at Night Spot, level 23.

The night begins October 31 at 7 p.m., Sheraton Saigon Hotel & Towers on Dong Du Street, District 1.

In addition, catering for Halloween parties at home or in the office can be arranged through many restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City, among them Thanh Da Restaurant at 12AB Thanh Da Street, Ward 27, Binh Thanh District.

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