The Finder’s Editor hangs out with fellow Americans. Halloween fun ensues! Plus: info on a special membership offer through November 30.
When one is an American living in Singapore, like myself, and one is invited to attend The American Club’s annual Halloween Party, as I was this past Saturday, Oct. 24, one feels compelled to go all out in the costume, or fancy dress, department. Also relevant: Halloween is my favourite holiday.
So, leading up to the party, I headed to the costume and party shops near Bugis Junction for the finishing touches on my husband and infant son’s coordinating outfits: an American football player and referee (did I mention, we’re American?). Meanwhile, I needed a wig to upgrade a Cleopatra outfit I brought from home. I found one at Girl Hairdo WIGS in the Peninsula Shopping Centre. Go time!
With just one eye-makeup mishap (why is liquid eyeliner so tricky?), we found ourselves walking up to the substantial-looking American Club a little after 11 a.m. last Saturday. But we didn’t see a single person – child or adult – in costume. Our momentary fear: “Oh no! Are we the only ones dressed up?!”
We should have known better. Once we passed through the sunlight-filled lobby and made it to the spacious Colonial Room on the third floor, all was revealed. The place was crawling with giddy little ones in adorable costumes, including a toddler dressed as a floppy pink French poodle and an older girl in clever gumball machine get up. In addition to various ghouls and goblins, the Hollywood and Disney characters were repping with multiple Spidermen and Elsas from Frozen and at least one each: Minion, Batman, Batgirl, Ironman, Snow White and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. Fortunately, some adults dressed up, too. I especially loved the woman in a Wonder Woman costume and Birkenstock-style sandals.
“The party is completely sold out,” Assistant General Manager Patricia Au told me of the 300 attendees. “It’s one of the highlights of our holiday calendar, which starts with Canadian Thanksgiving, then Halloween, American Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve. It’s the busiest time of the year for us.”
At the Halloween party, the food was tricked out to fit the theme – from funny-ferocious watermelon “monsters” to sweet “ghost” meringues and dare-you-to-eat-‘em “brains” (a moulded gelatin dessert). Even the pizza had spider web-shaped cheese on top. (Instagram mums, take note!)
My little guy was too young to take part in the kid-focused activities, such as games stationed around the room, trick-or-treating throughout the club and a magic show at noon (the squeals of delight ratcheted up an octave for this). I wasn’t surprised to learn that many of The American Club members join because of the considerable number of children’s offerings, from martial arts and swimming classes to SAT and ACT prep, a children’s library and even a bowling alley (with glow-in-the-dark cosmic bowling – what?!).
“We aren’t really ‘country club’ people back home, but it’s been great here,” member Sunday Shepherd told me just before the magic show started. She moved to Singapore from Houston a few years ago with her husband and two kids, then recently had a baby girl, whose middle name is “Jubilee” in honor of SG50. Her husband, Ryan, said they particularly love the fact that their older children, who attend EtonHouse, are dropped off by bus directly at The American Club after school.
The Finder Editor, Sara Lyle Bow, Sunday Shepherd, Baby Sushi Roll, Baby Referee and Adam Bow
So who belongs to The American Club? Fifty percent of members are Americans or Canadians, 30 percent are Singaporean and the remaining 20 percent are from other nationalities. “Sometimes new members come to orientation and see people they knew in high school!” said the club’s Marketing and Communications Executive Justin Chan.
Right now, The American Club is offering a 6-Month Restricted membership to Americans and Canadians who are eligible for Ordinary membership. Rather than paying the full $24,365 for a family life-time membership, you pay a little more than $5,000, and can upgrade to Ordinary at the end of the six months. You still have to pay $211.86 a month (for families) or $170.67 (for singles). But there’s no required monthly spend.