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Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Confusion after hotels backtrack on last-minute Halloween costume ban

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pumpkins

Hanna Horwarth/Flickr

Halloween plans for some residents heading to Doha bars and clubs last night were thrown into disarray at the last minute, after some hotels announced a ban on costumes to adhere to local regulations.

W Doha

Just after 7pm last night, the W Doha hotel, which had advertised a special costume party at its club, Crystal, announced on Twitter that Halloween outfits would not be allowed at the event.

The hotel went on to explain in their next tweet that the hotel would not be allowed to admit party-goers wearing costumes, face masks, or face paint.

When asked by Doha News to explain the decision, they replied:

“We respect the local authorities and their regulations. This is all the information we have.”

Halloween – also known as All Hallows’ Eve – is a Christian festival that some believe to have Pagan roots, and is not typically celebrated by many residents in Qatar, a conservative Muslim country.

Also yesterday, the Grand Hyatt Doha told those planning to attend a special costume beach party tonight (Nov. 1) that they would no longer be allowed to dress up:

“As per local authority & CID, wearing of costumes, masks and face coloring for halloween are NOT ALLOWED. Please come to the Nick Warren party in regular dress code. See you tomorrow.”

Doha News understands that hotels and party organisers received a phone call from the authorities late in the afternoon informing them that those wearing Halloween costumes would not be admitted into Doha’s bars, which all require ID for entry.

About-face

But shortly after the ban was announced, hotels clarified remarks to say costumes would still be permitted – though not face masks.

When a resident asked how they could get from the lobby to the club without being spotted in costume, the W suggested that they change inside the club.

Meanwhile, the Grand Hyatt deleted its Facebook comment, and when Doha News called the hotel this morning, staff insisted that halloween costumes would be welcome at the event tonight, where a prize will be awarded for the person with the best outfit.

Elsewhere in Doha, the organizers of a party at the Intercontinental beach took to Twitter to reassure customers:

But in the absence of any formal clarification from authorities, some questions remained:

For example, ILoveQatar.net founder Khalifa Al Haroon tweeted the rules as he understood them:

And event organiser Global DJs responded:

Last year, similar restrictions applied.

Despite the confusion, many seemed to enjoy last night’s goings-on. This party goer said it was business as usual at Crystal:

@dohanews @wdoha crystal was full of people in costume so I don’t know where that came from.

— Firas Zirie (@fzirie) October 31, 2013

Holiday history

Held annually in many countries around the world, Halloween has grown into a huge social event that for many involves costumes, scary movies and pumpkin-carving, among other traditions.

trick

KrisnFred / Flickr

Critics claim it has long since stopped being a Christian event, and nowadays represents a celebration of the occult instead.

Trick-or-treating is perhaps the best known Halloween tradition, where children go from house to house wearing costume and asking for candy.

Resident Dale Whitice saw lots of kids trick or treating in his neighborhood in Doha last night, and had this to say on Twitter:

Thoughts?

Credit: Top photo by Lobo235 on Flickr, second by KrisnFred

48 COMMENTS

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DavidRSS8
DavidRSS8
7 years ago

WTF?

Marisa Marinho
Marisa Marinho
7 years ago

Plenty of people dressed in black wearing a lot of face paint in the streets of Doha. Some wear masks, and I see nothing wrong with that. Please clarify, is it against the law on the 31st of Oct?

Pete
Pete
7 years ago

Amazing how the powers that be are always on top of the “important” things.

Kingpin
Kingpin
7 years ago

Dear me, Halloween is just some kids having fun. Saying it is a “celebration of the occult” is ridiculous. My 5 year old saw it as a celebration of getting dressed up and eating lots of chocolate!!!!

fullmoon07
fullmoon07
7 years ago
Reply to  Kingpin

my compound was festive, kids of all ages dressed in costumes enjoying and having fun and going for “trick or treat” because they wanted as much chocolate as they could possible find. Very occultive! ahahaha

superkev
superkev
7 years ago

they’ll be stopping Santa Clause costumes next….

Desert Witch
Desert Witch
7 years ago
Reply to  superkev

Shhh. You’re giving them ideas.

Turbohampster
Turbohampster
7 years ago

I find it very strange that they banned masks and face painting. When covering of the face is normal in Arab culture!

Mohammed Albanai
Mohammed Albanai
7 years ago
Reply to  Turbohampster

You can’t cover your face by law anywhere that requires you to show your ID to proof your age

Titoclo
Titoclo
7 years ago

I think you’re probably right. They didn’t seem to go after random people/kids in the streets or compounds, but specifically at clubs where alcohol is served, and where an ID is necessary. This seems coherent with a ban on face masks/paint only. Of cours in a typical fashion, everything is done at the last minute and without clear written instructions, so there is a certain randomness to the enforcement…

Mohammed Albanai
Mohammed Albanai
7 years ago
Reply to  Titoclo

At this point were your honestly expecting better?

Titoclo
Titoclo
7 years ago

I never do. From anybody. This way, I only have good suprises 🙂

Abdulrahman
Abdulrahman
7 years ago
Reply to  Turbohampster

Nothing about this story is normal; if the mysterious faceless “authority” wishes to have rules and regulations regarding Halloween customs, then it should be announced publicly or at least communicated in an e-mail where it clearly states what is allowed and not allowed. Verbal communication like this creates only confusion.

Cracked
Cracked
7 years ago

Authorities should go a step further and ban women wearing makeup then. But don’t worry folks, everything will be fixed in time for 2022.

KK
KK
7 years ago

It is not one of ‘their’ events so it must be wrong. Doha must be the most boring place on earth.

fullmoon07
fullmoon07
7 years ago
Reply to  KK

….otherwise they loose the guiness record!

Abdulrahman
Abdulrahman
7 years ago
Reply to  fullmoon07

We also have the Guinness record for the largest percentage of unhappy people who hate the place and the people but stay for the money. Literally, they are selling their happiness for money 😉

DavidRSS8
DavidRSS8
7 years ago
Reply to  Abdulrahman

Isn’t that why people call it “work” rather than “leisure”?

Abdulrahman
Abdulrahman
7 years ago
Reply to  DavidRSS8

True, and not everyone can find a job they love. However, you should at least try to find a job that you don’t hate, and you most certainly should not continue to live in a place that you dislike.

DavidRSS8
DavidRSS8
7 years ago
Reply to  Abdulrahman

Agree, but I guess some people don’t have a choice.

fullmoon07
fullmoon07
7 years ago
Reply to  Abdulrahman

it can be, yes! However, it was printed in 2004 in Lonely Planet guide….

Marilyn McLeroy
Marilyn McLeroy
7 years ago

I am finding difficulty in understanding how Paganism has anything to do with Christianity. It is the antithesis of Christianty.

Lionel_Shaon_
Lionel_Shaon_
7 years ago

Christianity in its truest form doesn’t. Some sects, especially those influenced by Greek and Roman backgrounds do have pagan roots.That being said, I am Roman Catholic and have never celebrated Halloween ever. Didn’t know it had anything to do with Christianity until I read it on Doha News.

fullmoon07
fullmoon07
7 years ago
Reply to  Lionel_Shaon_

Christinity does not mean Roman Catholic. There are many Christian countries that have completely different traditions

Guest
Guest
7 years ago
Reply to  fullmoon07

Never said it did. Just saying that despite some of Roman Catholicism’s ancient pagan roots, I have never felt the need to celebrate Halloween.

Vanessa
Vanessa
7 years ago
Reply to  fullmoon07

I am so tired of people thinking Catholic is the same as Christian. There are so many, many denominations of Christianity!

I grew up in a Christian household and celebrated Halloween every single year of my childhood, but it was only for the sake of being festive, dressing up, eating candy and having a good time – no matter where its roots came from, we never associated it with religion, and I honestly don’t know anyone (Christian or otherwise) who has.

ngourlay
ngourlay
7 years ago

Let’s not forget the 2009 Ritz Carlton Christmas Tree…
_Ceci n’est pas un arbre_

A_qtr
A_qtr
7 years ago
Reply to  ngourlay

that was because of a famous muslim cleric from Saudi attending a few days meeting in doha… once he was gone it was removed..

ngourlay
ngourlay
7 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

I know, but that wasn’t mentioned at the time because it would have raised awkward questions about Qatar’s willingness to tolerate intolerance; and for intelligent conservatives, it might seem hypocritical to cover up Christian symbols for a few days – either the Christmas tree is acceptable or unacceptable.

It’s impossible to know why Qatar has banned Halloween parties. Maybe it’s a one-off decision by an official who hasn’t consulted senior leadership; maybe there’s a political dimension where the leadership is trying to prove its conservative credentials using an event which is seen as unimportant; or maybe Qataris really are horrified that Westerners are being silly about death and dark magic.

Personally, I think the majority of Qataris are probably sensible enough to know that Halloween is just a bit of fun and dressing up. Yes, there’s a conservative core of citizens who wear short thobes and are furious about EVERYTHING, but I’d like to think that they are the minority. These sort of clamp-downs on disagreeable behaviour I prefer to believe are an attempt by the leadership to keep conservatives in agreement with the general direction of policy.

johnny wang
johnny wang
7 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

and what was this guy doing at the hotel in the first place. This guys are supposed to keep away from such places as hotels and other such related programmes

Ryan Sonson
Ryan Sonson
7 years ago

HaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHa

Observant One
Observant One
7 years ago

Meanwhile…children maimed and killed daily whilst not wearing seat belts although there is a law prescribing seat belts as mandatory…..

Abdulrahman
Abdulrahman
7 years ago

Question to all those complaining about the lack of tolerance and such; were the kids at your compounds stopped from celebrating Halloween? No? So then, is it possible, and I know it’s a stretch for you to give the benefit of the doubt to the Qatari authorities or Qataris in general, that the issue here was to make sure that only people of legal age were allowed in the bars where alcohol is served?

Granted, this should’ve been communicated much earlier in a written statement that clearly states what’s allowed and what’s not allowed. However, let’s not turn this into a religious freedom debate when this story has nothing to do with that topic!

Turbohampster
Turbohampster
7 years ago
Reply to  Abdulrahman

I can see your point!
But what about every brunch in all the hotels every friday? They all serve alcohol and I see lots of kids there!!!
Surely as access to bars/nightclubs in Doha is so tightly controlled, why not just take the common sense way that the rest of the world does? i.e. the same procedure they use at immigration at the Airport, If someone has their face covered get them to take it off for a I.D. check before they are allowed in! Simple……….

Diego
Diego
7 years ago
Reply to  Turbohampster

I think the brunch thing is fine with children as it gives parents the freedom to take their children if they want. Other times we get a nanny,leave them at home and take a taxi.My kids don’t want to drink.Maybe when they are closer to legal drinking age they will, but many Countries struggle with that one.

KK
KK
7 years ago
Reply to  Turbohampster

I do not think it has anything to do with an ID check. In typical style, hotels get a phone a call from ‘somebody’ just a few hours before the start of the halloween events… The underlying issue that some conservatives and less-conservatives are bickering about how to handle these strange non-local events. Having fun seems to be a forbidden pleasure.

MIMH
MIMH
7 years ago

Odd, very odd, but if you think about it, it makes perfect sense. The police and other authorities want to track you. Same happened at a planned masked ball at the ritz a few years back.

So now you have to ask yourself two questions.

1. What are the government so afraid of?
2. Why should you accept such government interference in your lives?

For this or any other festivals dress in an abaya and Niqab, if anyone stops you scream racist and islamaphobe. That should do the trick

KJD
KJD
7 years ago

Organizers of events have an obligation to be aware of laws that will impact the event. So I think the true problem is the hotels running the events not being aware of all the regulations they should be aware of and communicating expectations to participants at the time of advertising the event.

Desert Witch
Desert Witch
7 years ago

I am surprised at Doha News for printing completely wrong information and not checking the facts.
Ok here’s the history lesson.
Hallowe’en or All Hallows’ Eve is completely pagan in origin and has nothing to do with Christianity. It’s comes from northern hemisphere paganism. Some parts of the world celebrate The Day of the Dead around this time also.
It is a combination of a harvest festival, the recognition of the onslaught of winter, long nights short days and on the religious aspect people believed that at midnight onthe 31st October the doorway between the living and the dead opened allowing the possibility of the dead roaming the land. So they decorated their front doors with skulls and scarey things to scare off any evil. So the amalgamation of all these ideas have resulted in what we celebrate today. Trick O Treating in its modern form is an American tradition made popular across the world through believe it or not the film ET when it caught on in the UK and is becoming part of the celebrations more and more. However it does have its roots in ancient UK and Ireland (before Christianity) in a slightly different and more low key form.
I grew up in Ireland where Hallowe’en had more of the harvest connotations. We spent the evening cracking nuts, apple bobbing, telling scarey stories. Our mum would make a traditional cake called a Barm Brac which was like a fruit tea cake and hidden in it would be a ring (marriage), a pea (poverty) a bean (no marriage), a coin (riches). We had great fun discovering our little finds in our slice of cake and of course you had to eat carefully

DF
DF
7 years ago
Reply to  Desert Witch

Well said!

DavidRSS8
DavidRSS8
7 years ago
Reply to  Desert Witch

So true. I would add that the only connection with Christianity is when the early Christians tried to incorporate a number of pagan traditions into the Christian calendars in order to encourage conversions (i.e. the creation and placement of Christmas on December 25th). All Saints Day (a Catholic Holiday) was created on 1 November to bring the Irish festival of Samhain into the Christian fold.

The modern Halloween as most noted took off in the US after the Second World War and has no meaningful connection to anything that preceded it.

Desert Witch
Desert Witch
7 years ago

Sorry just to add on as my page froze…
For all those who mistakenly believe All Hallows’ Eve to be devil worship. You are so wrong. It is a celebration to ward off the devil and any evil. It is a religious custom designed to protect its people. The Christian church has tried for centuries to absorb and smother this festival by preaching of the evils of devil worship, in the same way they they demonized the pagan religion. I am always surprised how most orthodox religions seem to fear or denounce northern hemisphere paganism yet have no problem with Aboriginal , Aztec or Maori paganism for instance.

There history lesson over. If you got this far – well done.

Myrddin
Myrddin
7 years ago
Reply to  Desert Witch

Thanks DW
You have saved me the effort of writing the explanation myself!
And reminded me of the traditional Hallowe’en. Kids drowning themselves while chasing apples would probably be frowned on now, then, it was considered fun!
🙂

fullmoon07
fullmoon07
7 years ago
Reply to  Desert Witch

it is incredible how religions look alike in extremisms!

A_qtr
A_qtr
7 years ago

this is normal. In the states you are not allowed to have face paint or a face cover when enterting into a night club that required you to show a picture ID

sadam
sadam
7 years ago

first world problems

ann
ann
7 years ago

This is such a load of rubibsh! any excuse to ruin everyones fun!
Although in fairness I was admitted into the Irish Harp for free because I was in Costume, facepaint, fake blood and all! Not everywhere in Qatar takes everything to bloody seriously!

Em
Em
6 years ago

Yeah, sooooo not a religious festival. Yes, perhaps it begun that way, but it has absolutely nothing to do with religion anymore. Especially not Christianity– the only occasional interaction with religious bodies is extremely conservative Christians claiming that the holiday is demonic and all interaction with it should be avoided (also not true). Modern Halloween, basically, is a secular American holiday that revolves around costumes and trick-or-treating. It certainly has Pegan roots, but so does Christman (which is absolutely a Christian holiday but certainly becoming less-so). My mother was a devout Christian and we celebrated Christian holidays, but Halloween, even 30 years ago, had no shred of it. The day following, however, All Saints Day, IS a Christian (Catholic) holiday– also well known as Day of the Dead (Mexico). Representing Halloween as a religious festival is, simply, false.

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