It's almost Halloween, but why celebrate it by drawing on whiskers or throwing a white sheet over your head? This is Lanka, land of the Rakshas and fount of great ideas for Halloween.
So put aside the pumpkin, carve a thambili and try on of one of our top six* Sri Lankan and scary costumes instead. Let's dress.
*We've added a couple more on suggestion from Savan
Panic struck the country when people feared grease smothered men jumping into their house, getting jiggy with the women and stealing their jewellery.
I think the grease yaka generally operates naked, so you might not want to go all the way with this costume - perhaps just convert your sarong into a loin cloth instead.
Also be careful, there was a time when people really did hysterically fear this perhaps mythical creature and all sorts of innocents (like car mechanics) were getting beaten up - so perhaps apply grease just before you get to the party and remove right before you leave.
This could be in slightly poor taste, but we're including it anyway. The white van is both Sri Lankan and super scary; it was the source of many disappearances during the war. Perfect for Halloween.
However, both making and wearing this costume could be a bit difficult. Finding a large white box will be easy, but making it look like a van will prove tougher. It may also make for cumbersome wearing and unwieldy dancing. But hey, get creative and give it a go.
Who doesn't fear the country's bus drivers, who swerve and swoop across the roads with such alacrity? Whether you're a passenger, pedestrian, or just another driver sharing the road, this can be an alarming, scary experience.
This could be an easy costume, just put a box around yourself and run into people all night with a manic gleam in your eye.
According to the Ramayana, Ravana is the ten headed demon king who reigned over Lanka for almost forty years. He's been depicted widely in popular media, stories and legend - and he cuts a formidable figure. Ten angry heads is no joke. You might need to enlist a costume aunty for help making this one though.
Frotteur, ie. The Bus Pervert
Another insidious inhabitant of our lovely island is the bus pervert - although note that he's not restricted to just buses, also operating on trains, the streets and, well, just about anywhere really. This is the guy who pushes up a little bit too close to women, tries to cop a feel, and maybe even gets outs something that he really shouldn't be getting out. Pretty unsavoury.
But this is an easy costume. Just look shifty and rub up against your friends all night. But again be careful with this one - it's not an excuse to be an actual lech, nor can you go around rubbing against people in the name of some random Western festivity.
Do we need to explain?
These guys tread a fine line between hilarious and terrifying. Hilarious because they're idiots, terrifying because they're idiots with impunity.
This is another easy costume. Wear some sunglasses, carry a fake gun and talk loudly about how much your five Rolexes cost and which car you're buying next. Oh and get a couple of friends to dress up as bodyguards and follow you around all night, threatening anyone who so much as looks in your direction.
They lurk in dark corners, are most active in the evenings, suck your blood and fly, but sadly they aren't confined to hollywood movies. The mosquito is a pretty terrifying little beast, killing far more people every year than zombies, vampires, sharks and snakes combined. On this island they are particularly bloodcurdling as we have clouds of them everywhere and they serve as vectors for dengue which infects thousands and kills scores of people annually. This is a fairly involved costume as you need wings, antennae, a convincing proboscis.
Here's a real bit of indigenous demonology. The Kalu Kumaraya, literally black prince, was a medieval prince who plotted to overthrow his father. When his plot failed he dove, to his death, off a mountain cliff. However, rather than entering the next world he returned to this one as a demon. A handsome, dark seducer who lurks in the shadows and preys on lone women who linger by wells and riverbanks at night. Emerging from the shadows he charms them, seduces them and leaves them in such ecstasy that they beg him to cut their throats. That's some pretty sexy mythology and you don't need much for the costume - just standard princes getup and the classic Sri Lankan complexion should suffice. I guess the myth says good looking, charming and wildly good at the act of love, but well....
So there you have it, six (now eight) Sri Lankan and scary costume ideas for Halloween. Try one out, they're all cheaper than going to a costume shop (although we'll be adding a list of these soon) or getting one of the costume aunties to rustle one up last minute.