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Gallons of grog and extrovert ensembles

A BLOKE walked into a bar in Siem Reap dressed in a fridge with a TV on his head, accompanied by a gaggle of merrymakers in all sorts of odd garb, and the barman, without blinking an eyelid, said, “What will you have?”

For this was no joke. This was just another scene from yet another of Siem Reap’s famous Halloween pub crawls organised by Angkor What? bar’s manager, Charlie Kumar.

The annual Angkor What? Halloween pub crawl has become a local institution, a signature event as they say these days, and it’s on again next Saturday night, October 30, which, of course, isn’t actually Halloween night. That occurs on Sunday, but Charlie, figuring that folk should be job-ready on Monday morning, decided to hold the event on Saturday night, leaving Sunday to soothe savage hangovers.

People are now madly designing and creating their costumes in readiness for the great occasion, and Charlie said he is always amazed at the ingenuity shown.

“Some of the costumes are really very good,” he said, “and the weirdest one to date was worn by Geert from the Red Piano. He had a refrigerator covering his body and on top of the fridge there was an old TV and his head came out of that so he could see.”

Angkor What? bar has always had a Halloween party since its inception at the turn of the century, but the pub crawl kicked off in a small way in 2005 with less than a dozen drinkers.

Since then it’s been formalised and has grown quickly.

Each year, around five or six bars are involved as stops on the crawl. People spend about 30 minutes in each venue before moving on and, of course, the night ends up with a big party at the Angkor What? Bar.

People come and go but last year’s pub crawl set an attendance record, with 76 people crowding into one bar at the crawl’s highest point.

Kumar said some people shy away from the pub crawl because they don’t have a costume, but this year such folk will be catered for with a mask and a T-shirt.

The pub crawl kicks off on Saturday at 7pm at Molly Malone’s bar. There will be prizes for best dressed male, female and couple.

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