Halloween is celebrated in America on 31 October each year. It tends to kick off the winter holidays, and is celebrated by kids and adults alike. Traditionally, Halloween is preceded by a trip to the supermarket, or pumpkin patch, to pick out a pumpkin to be carved shortly before the holiday. If you are planning on dressing up in a costume, it’s also good to plan ahead. Thift stores can be a great resource for finding gently used costumes, or unique items to make your own costume. Halloween Parties, Haunted Houses, Carnivals, and Parades are other popular activities, and then of course Trick or Treating.
Trick or treating tends to be a particularly American activity, where children (ages 0-12 usually) will get dressed in some kind of costume, and walk through their neighborhoods, accompanied by parents of course, knocking on doors. They say “trick or treat” when someone answers, commonly offering a bowl of candy. Kids are asked to take only one piece each.
HINTS: If you would like to participate in this tradition, by offering candy to ‘trick or treaters’ follow these simple guidelines:
- Carve a pumpkin and set it out on your front porch, with a lit candle inside and leave your front porch light on – this lets the kids know that your house is ‘open for business’
- Only offer candy which is individually wrapped, easy to find at any supermarket
- This activity typically takes place from about 6-9pm on 31 October, but check with your neighbors. Some neighborhoods will arrange trick or treating for the Saturday night before Halloween
- It’s more fun if you get dressed up too…
- If you run out of candy, or no longer wish to be disturbed, turn off your lights and extinguish your pumpkin. This signals that your house is now ‘closed’.
It’s also common for children to wear their costume to school on Halloween. Some schools will organize a little parade around the grounds, where parents are invited to come and take photos of their little ones, and their friends. Check with your child’s school first though, some schools have very strict rules about what types of costumes are allowed, (i.e no swords, no skimpy outfits, etc). Some schools may also ban costumes completely.
There are more Halloween events taking place in the Bay Area than we could possibly cover, however, here are just enough to give you a taste of a true American Halloween.
– We’ve talked about Blossom Birth before, (they offer lots of great events and services for families) Here is another event, hosted by Blossom – the 19th Annual California Ave Trick or Treat & Blossom Halloween Carnival taking place this Sunday, 27 October from 10-2pm, on California Ave in Palo Alto. Admission is free.
– Redwood City Halloween Spooktakular, taking place Saturday 26 October 12-3pm at the Red Morton Community Center Kids will thrill to carnival games, proudly show off their Halloween attire in a Costume Parade at 1:30 pm, explore their way through the mysterious Monster Maze, create festive fall crafts, indulge in Transylvania Treats, enjoy lots of other fun activities, and win prizes! Redwood City’s Halloween Spooktakular is suitable for kids up to age ten – admission is just $5 per child.
– Menlo Park Halloween Hoopla, Saturday, October 26, 2013 – 11:15am to 3pm Come in costume and participate in the annual parade to Fremont Park. Participants will receive a trick or treat bag. A performer will be at the park to entertain parade participants. There will also be art and craft activities, a candy guess and a pumpkin weight guess. After the parade, trick or treat through Downtown Menlo Park at participating stores.
– FOR ADULTS, or OLDER CHILDREN ONLY – Halloween Haunt at Great America, is an amusement park located in Santa Clara. Each weekend night, in the weeks preceding Halloween, California’s Great America transforms into a horror-filled nightmare. From mazes with terrifying creatures around every corner to thrill rides that’ll haunt your dreams, it’s everything you fear and can’t wait to experience. Not recommended for those under 13. No costumes or re-entries are permitted.