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Daily Drip

Guangzhou Subway Asks Passengers to Remove Halloween Makeup

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China has had an uneasy relationship with Halloween in recent years, but it seems subway authorities in one of the country’s biggest cities are determined not to get into the spirit of spooky season after they recently asked partygoers to remove their makeup before boarding a train.

Staff at Hanxi Changlong Station, which is near an amusement park currently hosting a series of Halloween-themed activities, reportedly provided makeup remover to a group of passengers who had dressed up for the occasion and refused to let them board a train until they’d wiped off their “scary” looks.

Video footage posted on microblog service Weibo showed a number of people dabbing at their faces next to a metro security checkpoint. The subway authorities have since stated that the people featured in the video had fake blood on their faces and that they asked them to remove it because they felt that other passengers could be startled.

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The move has attracted significant attention on Chinese social media as many big cities gear up for a weekend of Halloween parties. The incident echoes a case back in March in Guangzhou when a young goth was barred from entering the subway due to her makeup. That story provoked a backlash with many citizens posting images of themselves in similarly “terrifying” makeup as a show of solidarity.

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In this case however, a similar movement seems unlikely to materialize. Although there are some voices of dissent about how scary such costumes and makeup really are, many of the highest upvoted comments on Weibo are supportive of the authorities, suggesting such looks are ill-suited to public areas. One popular comment asks whether those in question would wear such makeup for Chinese festivals such as Zhongyuan or Qingming (Tomb-Sweeping).

Cover photo Jason Yuen on Unsplash.

Jake Newby
Jake Newby is a Shanghai-based writer and editor with more than a decade's experience living and working in China. Previously managing editor of Time Out Shanghai, he's also written for publications such as South China Morning Post and the Financial Times.