Decorating for Halloween all the rage here

VIDEO COURTESY OF JOHN WESTNEDGE
Lion City Kitty's Jessica Seet (top) dressed up the cat museum - and its cats - for its Halloween party. (From far left) Mr John Westnedge, his daughter Stephanie, his wife Michelle, their maid Jingle Caya and younger daughter Victoria. Their neighbo
Neighbours enjoy the decorations on the Westnedge family's house (above), which include glowing ghosts, Frankenstein's monsters and skeletons. ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG
Lion City Kitty's Jessica Seet (top) dressed up the cat museum - and its cats - for its Halloween party. (From far left) Mr John Westnedge, his daughter Stephanie, his wife Michelle, their maid Jingle Caya and younger daughter Victoria. Their neighbo
(From far left) Mr John Westnedge, his daughter Stephanie, his wife Michelle, their maid Jingle Caya and younger daughter Victoria. Their neighbours enjoy the decorations on their house.ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG
Lion City Kitty's Jessica Seet (top) dressed up the cat museum - and its cats - for its Halloween party. (From far left) Mr John Westnedge, his daughter Stephanie, his wife Michelle, their maid Jingle Caya and younger daughter Victoria. Their neighbo
Lion City Kitty's Jessica Seet (above) dressed up the cat museum - and its cats - for its Halloween party.ST PHOTO: DON CHI
Lion City Kitty's Jessica Seet (top) dressed up the cat museum - and its cats - for its Halloween party. (From far left) Mr John Westnedge, his daughter Stephanie, his wife Michelle, their maid Jingle Caya and younger daughter Victoria. Their neighbo
Mr Joseph Thomas and his wife Patricia turn their house spooky with decorations for their Halloween party every year.ST PHOTO: BENSON ANG

Halloween decorations are popping up everywhere - in clubs, theme parks and in several neighbourhoods. Benson Ang looks at a few places that have gone the extra mile

Larger-than-life celebrations

Drive down Watten Estate Road and it is impossible to miss the three- storey bungalow covered in glowing ghosts, Frankenstein's monsters and pumpkins. Three black cats perch on its roof, the largest more than 3m tall.

Skeletons crawl all over the walls with one digging its way out of the ground.

Outside the building, there are six tombstones made of styrofoam.

Sounds of chanting and tolling bells piped out of a speaker add to the ghoulish atmosphere.

Lion City Kitty's Jessica Seet (top) dressed up the cat museum - and its cats - for its Halloween party. (From far left) Mr John Westnedge, his daughter Stephanie, his wife Michelle, their maid Jingle Caya and younger daughter Victoria. Their neighbo
Neighbours enjoy the decorations on the Westnedge family's house (above), which include glowing ghosts, Frankenstein's monsters and skeletons. ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG

The Westnedge family live in this 4,300 sq ft house and this is the second year they have decked their house up for Halloween.

The father, John, 53, came up with the idea last year because his daughters Victoria, eight, and Stephanie, 10, wanted to invite their schoolmates over for a haunted house party during Halloween.

John and his wife, Michelle, 46, work in the finance industry. A maid also lives in the house with them.

Lion City Kitty's Jessica Seet (top) dressed up the cat museum - and its cats - for its Halloween party. (From far left) Mr John Westnedge, his daughter Stephanie, his wife Michelle, their maid Jingle Caya and younger daughter Victoria. Their neighbo
(From far left) Mr John Westnedge, his daughter Stephanie, his wife Michelle, their maid Jingle Caya and younger daughter Victoria. Their neighbours enjoy the decorations on their house. ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG

More than 40 children and 20 parents turned up for the party. More than 300 neighbours also came by to trick-or-treat.

Mr Westnedge, an American who is a permanent resident here, and whose wife and daughters are Singaporean, says: "There were so many people, we almost ran out of candy.

"There weren't as many decorations last year. At first, the decorations were just for my kids. But after I saw the smiles on the neighbours' faces, I decided to go bigger this year."

All the decorations were bought either from online party supply shops or on Amazon.com.

The inflatables cost from US$10 (S$14) for the small pumpkin to $98 for the giant cat. Setting them up took three days and they were anchored down using translucent fishing lines.

He says: "I set up the decoration mainly through trial and error. At times, a storm came and the decorations went all over the place.

"But because of my experience last year, it was easier to get it right this time."

This year's party will be held on Monday.

He says: "This time, I'm more prepared. I have a fridge full of candy, enough to send a dentist into early retirement. Bring on the trick-or- treaters."


All claws out for this Halloween party


Lion City Kitty’s Jessica Seet dressed up the cat museum – and its cats – for its Halloween party. ST PHOTO: DON CHI

All the lights were switched off at this Halloween event in Purvis Street, but what went bump in the night were not ghosts or monsters, but cats.

That is because the organiser is none other than Lion City Kitty, The Cat Museum, Muses & Mansion - a cat museum and adoption centre - and its 50 felines prowl its premises, across three storeys of a shophouse.

For the "Cat-loween" event last night, the kitties wore glow-in- the-dark wristbands around their necks and some were even dressed in costumes such as pumpkins, devils and samurai.

The ceiling was decorated with paper pumpkins, bats, spiders, while pumpkin-shaped tinsel decorations hung on the walls. Lighting up the space were strings of tiny cat-shaped lanterns.

About 80 people paid $20 each to attend the event.

The idea came from Lion City Kitty's owner Jessica Seet, 50, a former deejay.

She says: "We just wanted to try something different and Halloween has become so popular in recent years.

Lion City Kitty's Jessica Seet (top) dressed up the cat museum - and its cats - for its Halloween party. (From far left) Mr John Westnedge, his daughter Stephanie, his wife Michelle, their maid Jingle Caya and younger daughter Victoria. Their neighbo
Lion City Kitty's Jessica Seet (above) dressed up the cat museum - and its cats - for its Halloween party. ST PHOTO: DON CHI

"We also wanted to take this opportunity to let guests visit the museum when the lights are switched off. After all, cats are generally more active in the night. They might be more lively and affectionate."

For a week, she and her volunteers decorated the 2,600 sq ft establishment.

Each storey even had its own theme. The first level was decorated with cobwebs and spiders.

The second revolved around ghosts and devils, while the third had a graveyard theme with five tombstones made from styrofoam.

All the decorations were bought from either a party supplies shop in Middle Road or Daiso. The cat-shaped lanterns were bought from an artist in Thailand.

In all, they spent about $500 on decorations. Some of the interesting props include a $40 creepy-looking skeleton hand made of rubber, as well as two bats, each costing $25, and a 1m-tall spider, costing $40.

Ms Seet says: "We paid for the decorations ourselves because the funds collected by the museum are spent on rescuing and re-homing cats.

"To maximise the decorations, we plan to re-use them for next year's Halloween event."


A time for pure fun


A plastic skeleton floats in their garden pool. ST PHOTO: BENSON ANG

For the past three Halloweens, the Thomases have transformed the garden and patio of their 10,000 sq ft house in Seletar into a haunted place.

In their patio, dismembered and bloody rubber limbs - arms, legs and feet - are scattered over the pool table and on the rattan chairs. Two giant cobwebs made of string form the backdrop behind the couch. And if you are looking up, watch out for the three bats hanging from the ceiling.

A plastic skeleton floats in their garden pool. Two spooky figures draped in cloth hang from the patio roof.

Another one is suspended from a tree in the garden, eerily lit with a light from below.

Make enough noise and the figure's eyes will flash red.

While there are no Halloween pumpkins, orange balloons with faces drawn on them complete the set-up.

The Singaporean family, which owns a security company, holds an annual Halloween party for colleagues, clients and friends.

This year, they celebrated it last night, with about 100 attendees dressed in outfits in keeping with the party theme: fairy tales.

Lion City Kitty's Jessica Seet (top) dressed up the cat museum - and its cats - for its Halloween party. (From far left) Mr John Westnedge, his daughter Stephanie, his wife Michelle, their maid Jingle Caya and younger daughter Victoria. Their neighbo
Mr Joseph Thomas and his wife Patricia turn their house spooky with decorations for their Halloween party every year. ST PHOTO: BENSON ANG

At last year's party, Mr Joseph Thomas did not dress up, but some of their guests turned up as pirates, sheikhs and one even came as the comic book character Catwoman.

Finger food and drinks were provided.

Mr Thomas, 66, a director in the family business, says: "We just want to invite people close to us to come and let their hair down."

He lives in the house with his wife, 60; son, 37; mother-in-law, 81; and a maid.

The family bought all the props - which cost about $2,000 altogether - three years ago from a party supplies shop in Orchard Road.

"We re-use them every year."

It was his son, Joshua, who came up with the idea for the party three years ago.

The elder Mr Thomas says: "Ten years ago, Halloween was nothing. But nowadays, it seems to be such a big event, especially among young people.

"There are other festivities such as Christmas which have religious undertones, but Halloween is just pure fun.

"You get to see the lighter side of people when they are in costume."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 29, 2016, with the headline 'House of horrors'. Print Edition | Subscribe