October is famously known as the spooky season, and South Africans have also started to fully embrace it.
While Halloween isn’t a widely practised tradition in South Africa, in recent years more and more people have been adopting its customs and festivities.
Over the past few years, there has been a noticeable increase in the number of people celebrating Halloween, from clubs and museums throwing parties to people who have decked out their homes with all kinds of ghoulish decor.
Many places across South Africa now host Halloween events, where people go all out with their costumes. Horror movie icons and sinister creatures have become the most popular choices for dressing up.
Linda Addicott, from Purple Dragon in Pietermaritzburg, which sells party decor and costumes, said sales have picked up recently as people celebrate Halloween, which is officially on Tuesday.
The sales have been a bit slow, but in the last few days, sales have definitely picked up a lot as the weekend approaches. There has definitely been an increase in people participating in Halloween functions. We have people of all ages that look forward to Halloween.
“Our best sellers are all the accessories that go with the costumes which we sell and hire out. The atmosphere in the shop definitely changes from the minute you walk through our front door. We have lots of Halloween props hanging from our ceiling making all sorts of scary noises. Half of our shop is just dedicated to Halloween during this period,” said Addicott.
Even though the Halloween weekend has somewhat been overshadowed by the Springboks reaching the Rugby World Cup final on Saturday night, there are people looking forward to a spooky weekend. Kaylee Govender said she absolutely adored the spooky season.
Yes, I love the spooky season, but not to the degree I would like. Most events are just partying and drinking with costumes, not really Halloween. I prefer haunted houses, corn mazes, pumpkin carving, trick or treating. I love spooky stuff and the atmosphere. I will hopefully attend a spooky escape room or just go to a market where people dress up and eat,” said Govender.
The KZN Museum on Friday hosted a Halloween themed “Night at the Museum”.
“The October Night at the Museum is Halloween-themed just to tap into the whole idea of Halloween for the month of October, just inviting a little bit of fun. The old victorian section period room is usually converted into a scare area. This is another big thing that people love at Night at the Museum,” said Viranna Frank, the museum’s spokesperson.
Pietermaritzburg has its fair share of eerie and spooky ghosts and phenomena that seem to prowl the nights and haunt the shadows.
There are several other famous ghosts in the city.
The Lady in White, supposedly lives at Macrorie house, and it is believed the mystery woman, who was the wife of the head warder of the old jail in Pine Street, was having an affair with someone at Government House. The lovers met in a reputed underground tunnel in Macrorie House and were killed by the jailer with his bunch of keys, when he found out about their affair.
Then there is also the legend of the horseback traveller who spent the night at the Ketelfontein Farm on Old Howick Road. The farmhouse was built in 1862 as a stop for horse riders. A traveller, suspected of being a diamond smuggler, decided to spend the night there. He died in a shootout with police on the farm. It is believed he returns every few years searching for his diamonds.
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In Elandskop, motorists were petrified following frequent reports of a naked ghost that caused many motorists to lose control of their vehicles and crash near the Ehhashini bridge. The hauntings continued until around six years ago, when some members of the Nazareth Baptist Church conducted a cleansing prayer. Since then the ghost has vanished.