Halloween Traditions and Events

Halloween Traditions and EventsDressing up for fun has been a popular activity long before Halloween.  The tradition dates back at least 2000 years, to the Celts.  They dressed up in costumes for the celebration of Samhain, which occurred at the end of harvest time, when food was being stored for the winter.  The purpose for costumes was to keep them "hidden" from the ghost they believed would appear at that time.

Today's practice of passing out candy has its roots in the Celts practices.  The Celts, in an attempt to pacify the ghost, would place tasty treats at their doors, then dress up.  They hoped to trick the ghost.  The intention was to have the ghost get so distracted by the treats that it didn't see the costumed people. Over the decades and centuries that followed, these practices were subtly changed, and ultimately became the current tradition celebrated every October 31st, otherwise known as Halloween, or trick-or-treating.

Today, trick-or-treating isn't so much about scaring away spirits as it is about dressing up in a fun costume and getting as much candy as possible.  While most of us can trick-or-treat around our own neighborhoods, there are other alternatives that you may not be aware of that are safe environments for kids.

First, check with your local mall for Halloween mall events.  Many malls participate in giving out candy to children.  The benefit of this is that the mall is a brightly lit place, and is usually indoors.  This can be especially beneficial for people who live in cold climates, where there might even be snow on the ground come late October.

Your local Toys-R-Us will often have their own trick-or-treating or Halloween fun events on the 31st.  Call them to find out what they are doing.  Toys-R-Us trick or treating has been known to have stations set up around their stores where kids can visit.  Each station has some type of goodie or activity that they give to the kids, such as coloring books, stickers, Halloween temporary tattoos, candy, and pencils.  They also have been known to give away really nice bags for the kids to keep for collecting their Halloween bounty.

Local zoos often have Halloween events that run for most of, if not the entire, month of October.  The most common name for these events is Boo at the Zoo.  The events are held after hours in the dark, when most zoos are usually closed.

Kids and adults are encouraged to come dressed up and wander the zoos in the dark (yes, they have flood lights so it is not pitch dark).  They have stations where kids can get candy and fun items, such as stickers and temporary tattoos.

Halloween at the zoo is a fun event that allows you to see the zoo at a time that is otherwise off limits.  Call your local zoo some time in September and inquire about what they will be doing for Halloween and what the dates are.  Dressing up in a Halloween sailor costume for Boo at the Zoo is just plain fun!