October 31st is known as the day of great scary fun for all! This entertaining American holiday in which both children and adults alike look for tricks and treats began centuries ago as a Celtic tradition. Halloween has been an American tradition ever since Irish and Scottish immigrants carried their versions of the custom to North America in the nineteenth century. The name Halloween comes from the title All Hallows’ Evening, Hallows Eve or Hallowe’en. It is an evening in which some of the most inventive visual displays of horror and macabre are found in “haunted houses.” Both young and old love to be scared and thus flock to places created in equal parts to frighten and entertain.
One of the most endearing of activities reserved for Halloween is trick-or-treating. Children in many western countries and other parts of the world, dress up in costume and knock on doors while asking the question, “Trick or treat?” If the door is not answered and a treat not given, the homeowner must be prepared to receive a harmless trick! The custom of dressing up in costumes and begging door to door was a Medieval practice called souling. Poor families would dress up and beg at doors, receiving food.
Another tradition is carving pumpkins into jack-o-lanterns. A carved jack-o-lantern in the front of an establishment, lets the trick-or-treater know that treats are available. Carving jack-o-lanterns is another Irish tradition. It is said that a man known as stingy jack made a deal with the devil and was able to trick the devil 3 times. Because of his sly transactions with the dark one, he was never allowed in heaven or hell, thus only once a year he roams the country with a lighted beet, rutabaga or pumpkin, trying to trick someone into giving up his soul. This old tradition of pumpkin carving has evolved into an incredible art form and can be seen as a competition on television.
Halloween has evolved into a big business and money maker in America. Thousands of pounds of candy are given as treats. Many people give elaborate Halloween parties. Extensive decorations can be seen inside and outside of homes and businesses. It is a time in which adults and children can be whom ever they wish as they dress up in costume and have fun. Many businesses encourage workers to enjoy the day in costume, as treats are given from employee to employee. In parts of Ohio, Iowa and Massachusetts Halloween night is known as beggar’s night. The custom of lighting a bon fire to ward off evil spirits began in the Emerald Isle and as the fire burned, bats were attracted to the light, and thus the bat is one of the symbols of Halloween. As Halloween evolved, so did some of the traditions of scary monsters. These are mainly associated with Halloween because of the movie industry.
So as October 31st approaches, all will be ready for great fun and parties and lots of fun treats! Cities all over the counties are in the ready. Just go online or contact the local Chamber of Commerce to see what festivities are in store. In the city of Huntington Beach, join Main Street Halloween 4-8 PM, Oct. 31st, a free street fair for all ages. Call 714 536-8300. OC Fairgrounds features Foodtacular 5:30-9 PM, on Oct 30th, 88 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa. In Irvine join Boot Hill Oct. 28, 30, and 31, for a free spooky display, 7-10 PM, 818 633-0300. Knotts Berry Farm has the annual Camp Spooky weekend in October for ages 3-11. Knotts Scary Farm is for teens and adults in the evenings through November 2nd. Haunted Fullerton Walking Tours start at the Fullerton Museum through Nov. 7th. Call 714 738-6545. Boo at the Zoo is fun for all ages at the Santa Ana Zoo, Oct. 30th, 5:30-8 PM, 1801 E. Chestnut Ave., Santa Ana, 714 953-8555. Spooky Science goes through Oct 31st at the Discovery Science Center, 2500 Main St., Santa Ana. Call 714-342-2823. Irvine Park Railroad and Pumpkin Patch will be great fun at 1 Irvine Park Rd., Irvine, through Oct. 31st.