Christmas may be the "most wonderful time of the year", as the song goes, but Huang Zhiguan never has to wait that long.
Huang owns a writing instrument online store at Taobao.com, China's biggest e-commerce portal. Since 2008, he has seen a surge in the sale of one particular product every mid-October. It is a collection of body pigments for painting on human skin.
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This October, he has sold more than 200 sets of his six-color body pigment to customers eager to put their most flamboyant faces forward for Halloween.
The Western festival has become an important event for young Chinese in first- and second-tier cities. They are enthusiastically seeking makeup, designing special costumes, and holding parties - all of which now generates huge profits for suppliers of such fancies.
Wang Miao, 28, is the managing director at Acupuncture, the largest party-planning company in Beijing. She has been organizing Halloween parties since 2007.
She says she can see the growing enthusiasm among young people in the capital. In 2007, there were 800 people who dressed up for the party organized by her company. "In the past two years, participants have grown to more than 1,000," Wang says.
In 2007, Acupuncture had to rent a venue, which Wang describes as "the biggest cost of Halloween". But this year, the company will be holding the party at its own venue, Lantern Club - a venue which was bought with the money earned during the past years. The club is located near Sanlitun, the capital city's nightlife magnet.
Cindy Liu, public relations director from Lan Club, says the high-end private club has been holding Halloween parties since 2009, with more than 1,000 revelers in attendance each year.
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In 2007, there were not too many Chinese people who welcomed Halloween in Beijing. Most of the celebrants were foreigners, Liu says, and back then they were simply dressed, outfitted as policemen and "bunny" girls.
This year, Liu is expecting Monkey King, Superman and Japanese sumo wrestlers among the more ambitiously attired. "Some of the party-goers even make their own costumes. They are really spending money and time on it," Liu says.
To prepare for the party, Lan Club invests heavily in it. Decoration is an important part. This year, the club has invited an interior designer to specially create some decorations for Halloween, including some scary sculptures. Halloween party has become one of the most profitable events among Lan Club's parties, along with Christmas and New Year's Eve, according to Liu.
Like the clubs, international schools and companies are embracing the holiday.
Zou Peng, a teacher at the Canadian International School of Beijing, says it is a tradition that on Halloween, kids will do "trick or treat" for the most of the day. Teachers will help to organize events, like drawing pumpkins, telling stories and singing competitions.
Zou says that the school's many Chinese pupils are as eager as their Western schoolmates to embrace Halloween, which is "the biggest event after Christmas".
More companies are organizing Halloween events to get exposure and gain popularity among young people.
China's leading online media company Sohu, in order to promote its American TV series channel, will hold a Halloween party with a theme of US television characters at a club in Beijing on Wednesday evening.
The company's high-profile CEO Zhang Chaoyang promised he would wow Sohu users at the party: He is going to dress up as the character from a "horrible" American TV episode.