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.
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.
But shortly after the ban was announced, hotels clarified remarks to say costumes would still be permitted – though not face masks.
Further update on tonight’s happenings: You are welcome inside Crystal and Wahm with your costumes, however not in the public areas.
— W Doha (@wdoha) October 31, 2013
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:
— Iconic Qatar (@IconicQatar) October 31, 2013
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:
— Global DJs (@GlobalDJs) October 31, 2013
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:
— Firas Zirie (@fzirie) October 31, 2013
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.
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:
Living in Doha and seeing kids from so many different countries and cultures enjoying the fun of #Halloween is inspiring.
— Dale Whitice (@airlaw57) October 31, 2013