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RIYADH: Spooky season festivities began in Riyadh after the Boulevard was transformed into a venue-wide costume party during the “Scary Weekend” event, which took place on Thursday and Friday.

Dressed-up visitors were granted free entry to the Boulevard on the condition that they wore scary costumes.

The event was dedicated to showcasing terrifying disguises and parading the creative designs of Saudis and residents. The goal was to create an atmosphere filled with fun, thrills and excitement as people discovered the stories behind various character costumes.

One attendee, Abdulrahman, showcased a costume of the North American mythological creature Wendigo. The legend says that the folkloric creature is a malevolent spirit that possesses human beings, calls on feelings of greed and hunger, and cannibalizes people, feeding on their flesh. This was Abdulrahman’s first time celebrating Halloween in the country.

“It’s a great celebration, honestly, and there’s a spirit of joy… In terms of haram or halal, I don’t know about it. We celebrate it just for the fun of it and nothing else. We don’t believe in anything,” he told Arab News.

While Halloween has long been shunned across the Gulf, attendees at the event described the occasion as a form of harmless entertainment.

One eventgoer, Khaled Alharbi, said: “Actions are based on intentions. I’m just here to have fun.”

Alharbi came with his family, with members dressed as a bloodied doctor, nurse and consultant. They created a backstory behind their costumes, arriving at the Boulevard just in time for the city’s biggest costume party. Alharbi carried a two-year old family member dressed as witch, who playfully cast an insanity spell on the rest of the family.

This was also the family’s first time celebrating Halloween.

Nearby, another witch sat with velvety red hair and a festive hat, accompanied by her friend, dressed as Catwoman. Sitting on a sidewalk, completing their costumes with temporary tattoos, the two told Arab News about their experience.

“I tried to create a mix of jewelry and eyeliner tattoos. I think makeup inspires me as well. This is my first time celebrating Halloween. Last year I missed the date, so I will not miss it this time,” the witch, Ameera, said.

The pair added that the event was a great occasion to express their creativity and celebrate with the Saudi public. Both work in a hospital and said that dressing up was a great way to relieve stress and enjoy themselves.

“I support it. There’s an energy inside of us — we have to let it out. This celebration is the place to channel this energy. If there’s someone really creative and talented, who has a vivid imagination, they can let it out these days. For example, through drawing or cinematic makeup,” Ameera said.

Another attendee, Abdulaziz bin Khaled, decided to represent his love for Western movies and zombie gore, combining the two as he dressed as a decayed cowboy carrying a sign that read: “Be Careful It’s A Zombie.”

Bin Khaled said: “That’s my favorite type of movie: Cowboys, American wars, scary movies and Westerns. I love the Denzel Washington movie ‘The Magnificent Seven.’

“This is the second costume event they’ve had at the Boulevard. It’s really great and all the young men and women are out in amazing costumes. Everyone’s creating cool things inspired by movies and horror, and others. It’s so good that we can see this during Riyadh Season,” he added.

The event was complete with a fireworks show, enhanced sound effects and spooky decorations. A similar event took place earlier this year at Boulevard Riyadh City and Winter Wonderland on March 17 and 18.

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