We’re near the end of the scary season with the grand finale coming up on October 31 – Halloween. Inspired by ancient Celtic traditions with giant bonfires to ward off roaming ghosts, Halloween was brought to the U.S. by the many Irish and Scottish immigrants who came in masses during the 19th century. Its popularity grew so much that by the beginning of the 20th century it’s been celebrated coast to coast by people from all social, racial and religious backgrounds.
I enjoy how enthusiastic and creative Americans are with Halloween and I’m having a blast seeing how creative people can be every year. It usually starts early October when front yards are getting decorated with grave stones, skulls, carved pumpkins and all kinds of spooky accessories. The scarier, the better. And there are often contests in your neighborhood with prices for the best decorated house – just like during Christmas season, only darker.
The Most Creative Costumes
Other countries have carnival, America has Halloween. While you’re slowly getting into the mood seeing all the decorated front yards throughout October, the dressing up is usually just on one day. And if this day doesn’t fall on a Friday or Saturday, people just have their separate little costume events at work or at parties before October 31.
I was on a Caribbean Cruise during Halloween in 2012 and it was a memorable experience. The costumes and make up that some people pulled off blew my mind and some did such an amazing job that I felt like being in a movie in Hollywood. One American favorite is definitely zombies, not just since the TV hit series “The Walking Dead“. Zombies have been around a long time and it’s an all time classic. There are lots of amateur zombie outfits, but also make overs that take Halloween to the next level.
While a single costume might not be super funny, seeing several costumes that complement each other really makes the difference. Family and friends sometimes agree on a certain theme, like the characters of the Batman movies or the whole Flintstone family. I remember seeing an old lady in a scooter, dressed up as a pirate captain with her scooter being the pirate ship and her two adult daughters dressed up as part of the ship. That was on a cruise and they ended up winning the ship’s costume contest that year.
Another creative idea is dressing up as somebody that recently made the news or main characters of movies and TV shows that are currently popular. What makes these costumes so creative is the fact that there is probably not a ready-to-go version of it available in stores, so people really have to buy clothes, wigs and accessories to pull off that character. Sometimes a well done make up job is needed to give your character the winning touch. Sometimes nothing is too expensive as long as you stand out with the most creative or funniest costume and people love to go the extra mile for a great Halloween outfit.
Fun for the Whole Family
The fun part is that Halloween is being celebrated to the fullest by both kids and adults. As soon as it starts to get dark on the 31st, parents walk with their little ones in the cutest outfits from house to house and do Trick or Treat. There are even pets costumes so that our furry friends won’t miss out on all the fun either. Hilarious! Some neighbors even pull off a show with lighting effects and haunted house flair. Sometimes it’s so good that I would almost pay to see it. It has a great entertainment factor and my daughter loves to walk around with us in the dark and load up on the most colorful candy. My wife and I usually find a minute afterwards to snag some of the unhealthiest treats and replace them with some candy that we’re more comfortable with. Super bright neon colored treats always land in the trash. I’m glad my daughter can’t read yet, so our sneaky plan won’t be revealed for another year or two.
Originally people in Ireland and Scotland carved turnips for Halloween, but immigrants in America started to use the much softer and larger native pumpkin, which turned out to work a lot better. There are some outstanding carving artists in the U.S. and while I’ve seen many with my own eyes, I don’t necessarily took a picture of them. So here are a few examples that I found on the internet:
Haunted Places Throughout the Nation
Besides the usual Halloween events at work, with friends or in your neighborhood, there are also many haunted places throughout the nation. Haunted houses, haunted corn mazes, haunted ships, haunted everything as long as people are willing to pay for it. Our local amusement park “Carowinds” transforms every year to “Scarowinds” with employees dressed up as terrifying creatures and additional Halloween attractions like haunted slaughterhouses, 3D horror movie theatres and plenty of other things to scare the heck out of you. Everything at night of course.
You see, while Halloween gets heavily commercialized like everything in the U.S., it’s still lots of fun for all ages. Every time I think I’ve seen every costume out there, people surprise me with outfits that mankind has never seen before. I hope you get to experience it for yourself this year!