Stone lion statues guarding S'pore on Oct. 31 actually 2 women in disguise for Halloween

A very unique Halloween costume idea.

Jane Zhang | November 02, 2021, 07:13 PM

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Halloween in Singapore may have passed this year with much less hubbub than past years due to Stabilisation Phase restrictions, but that doesn't mean that some people didn't still have a great time dressing up.

Two young women in Singapore put their creative skills to the test, making their very own stone lion statue costumes out of cardboard and finding places around the island to set up "guard".

Photo by Dave Lim.

Annual Halloween tradition

Callysta and Tiara, both in their early-20s, told Mothership that Halloween is a "really special occasion" for both of them, and that they celebrated the holiday together throughout university, even visiting the Halloween parade that happens annually in Woodgrove Estate in Woodlands.

However, after they graduated from university and Covid-19 hit, they were unable to continue their annual tradition. This year, though, the opportunity arose to celebrate together once again, and they knew they needed to do something.

Their criteria? A costume that comes in a pair, is fun to walk around in, and is self-entertaining.

Tiara had been noticing many stone lion statues around, so when Callysta asked her what they should be for Halloween, it was the first thing to come to mind.

"We both loved the idea and immediately started planning and collecting reference pictures from lions that we would see outside of buildings."

Wearing the costumes around Singapore

The duo gallivanted around Singapore for five hours on Halloween, stopping to take photos wherever they fancied with the help of their photographer friend, Dave Lim.

Here's a glimpse of what that looked like:

Photo by Dave Lim.

Photo by Dave Lim.

Photo by Dave Lim.

Photo by Dave Lim.

Photo by Dave Lim.

When they were riding the MRT, they noticed a number of people pull out their phones and chuckle to themselves, upon seeing their costumes.

Photo by Dave Lim.

While they were taking photos at the Botanic Gardens gate, someone came up to Callysta and Tiara to ask them what they were dressed up for, and if they were part of some organisation.

"We were like, 'Uh… this is for Halloween? For fun? HAHAHA. They were very nice about it and asked to take pictures with us."

As the pair walked down the street in Chinatown while wearing their costumes, a shopkeeper shouted at them from her store, asking them what they were.

"[We] thought was quite sweet that she was curious enough to ask!"

Not everyone was enthusiastic about their costumes, though.

"We did get chased out of the UOB building [at Raffles Place] though. [It] was quite unfortunate because we wanted to recreate the famous HSBC lion statues in HK."

And although they were met with some wardrobe malfunctions, such as the gold ball falling off and the armour beginning to peel, it was nothing a little emergency duct tape couldn't fix.

Costume-making process

But it wasn't easy to get there.

The duo had to come up with their own process for making the costumes, as there were no references available for a similar costume.

Photo courtesy of Callysta and Tiara.

The costumes — which were made of cardboard, styrofoam, hot glue, duct tape, masking tape, and spray paint — consisted of four main components:

1. The lion head

The base is a helmet, on top of which they glued the cardboard structure. They then spray painted it grey.

Hot glue was used to attach the styrofoam balls that mimic the guardian lion's mane. Additional details were painted or drawn on.

Photo courtesy of Callysta and Tiara.

Photo courtesy of Callysta and Tiara.

Photo courtesy of Callysta and Tiara.

2. The breastplate

The breastplate is made out of cardboard and spray-painted grey, with additional details painted on. The gold "bell" is made out of a styrofoam ball and metallic paint and markers. It was attached onto the breastplate with toothpicks and hot glue.

Photo courtesy of Callysta and Tiara.

3. The ball

Stone lion statue pairs traditionally consist of one holding a ball, representing the world, and the other holding a lion cub, representing nurture.

However, Callysta and Tiara admitted that the lion cub was a bit too challenging to make, so they opted instead for the ball for both of them.

To make it, they bought a plastic children's toy ball from Mustafa and spray-painted it grey.

4. The "arms"

In order to make their arms look more "buff", Callysta and Tiara both wore protective gear under a large grey sweatshirt.

One-month process

The construction process came together over the course of one month. Callysta and Tiara met up twice a week for several hours, once on a weekday night after they finished work, and once on the weekend.

"Making halloween costumes requires lots of commitment, especially when you have a 9-5!", they remarked. "We would sometimes make costumes from 7-10pm and then have to take a work call at 10:30pm."

Photo courtesy of Callysta and Tiara.

And there were some "creative roadblocks" that popped up along the way: "This costume looked a bit like cockroach armour at one point and there were many edits made."

Despite the huge time commitment, the two said that it was very fun and a great bonding experience.

A chance to not take themselves too seriously

For Callysta and Tiara, the experience was an opportunity to have some fun and to be creative:

"As working adults it’s hard to find spaces and opportunities to be creative in this way. It was nice to not take ourselves too seriously and do this for fun.

These will definitely be memories for a lifetime and I’m really glad we found a way to have fun in spite of everything that’s going on."

Photo by Dave Lim.

They expressed some sadness that they only saw one other person wearing a Halloween costume throughout their entire day of going around Singapore, though.

"Hot glue and cardboard are awesome," they added.

Top photos by Dave Lim.

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