Erbil gets spooky with Halloween spirit
By A.C. Robinson
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – On All Hallows' Eve, students and instructors alike gathered at the University of Kurdistan Hewler to celebrate the event with a party aimed at bring the youth together.
"The purpose of Halloween, it's a worldwide international event, especially in the US," said Vanity Arsalan, president of the student union at UKH. "It gathers the youth with the same purpose of gathering together and changing into different characters."
Arsalan said they wanted to bring people together and inject "some joy and fun and different characteristics within the university life."
This is the first time in four years UKH has held a Halloween party.
"The youth today are more into parties and social events so it was a good chance for the student union to bring them together," she said.
Students and instructors enjoyed music and dancing along with Halloween themed decorations and food.
The party also included face painting, a haunted house and even a mock grave yard set up outside.
"We'll also being giving gifts for the best costumes," Arsalan added.
More than 1,000 partyers came out to celebrate Halloween at a separate event at Family Mall.
"Today we are celebrating Halloween," said Rawand Husen, marketing manager at Family Mall. "We are very happy that we were the first shopping mall in Kurdistan and Iraq to celebrate Halloween."
Husen said it has been an annual event since 2011 and has grown more each year.
"Today there are more than 1,000 people here. Kids, adults, females, males. This is very exciting that you can see the families here," he said.
People danced to live music and kids enjoyed a magic show.
"This is a very special event to this area," said grade 12 student Mohammed who had his face painted. "We can open a door about Halloween in Kurdistan."
Noor, 28, and her friend came all the way from Mosul to join the party.
"I'm so happy today. I came here with my friend for the celebration and we are having fun," she said.
"I came last year and it was very fun so I came again to celebrate."
Husen from Family Mall said it is important for the Kurdistan Region to connect with international events.
"Our aim is to create a good environment, a good time, joyful time for the people here,” he said.