Boo! China's first "haunted house" spooks this Halloween

Mon Oct 26, 2009 10:58pm EDT
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By Royston Chan

SHANGHAI (Reuters Life!) - This Halloween, prepare to be scared in China.

The country's first Halloween haunted house attraction is spooking the crowds in Shanghai, with its creators hoping to cash in on the traditions of the ancient, but essentially Western, festival to commemorate the dead.

While China has a rich tradition of ghosts and ghouls of its own, Halloween is a non-event for most Chinese, who hold their own commemoration for the dead during the Qingming festival or Tomb-Sweeping Day usually marked in April.

But the creators of the "Shanghai Nightmare" attraction, 26-year-old American-Chinese Gan Quan and his girlfriend Xu Jiali, said it's about time Chinese got a taste of Halloween.

"I grew up in the United States and we have Halloween traditions. And over here, there's something missing," Gan, who came to Shanghai a year ago, told Reuters.

"People party, they go drinking, they go to the bars, but there's still that one part of Halloween that didn't exist. And we thought, what a perfect way to combine our efforts than to put up a haunted house in Shanghai."

"Shanghai Nightmare" is set in a crumbling, century-old warehouse along Suzhou Creek and features more than 13 chambers filled with gory scenes, sound and light effects and actors dressed as ghosts and goblins that attack visitors.

Gan and Xu, who quit their jobs to dedicate themselves to the project, said they combined their engineering and art training to create the haunted house.   Continued...

<p>An artist checks her make-up as she gets ready for another performance evening at the Shanghai Nightmare haunted house in Shanghai October 24, 2009. REUTERS/Nir Elias</p>