Halloween may have started in Ireland, but Americans truly know how to celebrate in style. Today I share my top ten reasons for loving Halloween – American Style.
1. Halloween – A Month-Long Fall Festival:
Halloween excitement first brewed in our house when a lone, dried leaf, floated on a late-summer air current. Costume planning became a daily, round-table, kiddie discussion in mid-September. By the time fall foliage attained its full October glory, my kids were ready to celebrate in full force. Luckily Halloween is not just one day in America. Kentucky turns pretty spooky, with oodles of Halloween events throughout the entire month. Mom may be reaching Halloween saturation point, but my kids are still ready to party.
2. Halloween – An Event For All Ages:
Halloween is celebrated and truly enjoyed by every age group in America. I love when adults dress up, to hand out candy, oohing and aahing at little kids’ scary attire, despite a lengthy parade of costumed trick-or-treaters wandering from door to door. Our neighbors never mind when “children”, who really need a shave, come a begging for candy. Everyone understands the need to be part of the fun.
3. Halloween – A Community Event:
Freaky fun abounds community-wide in our locality. An amazing Halloween Extravaganza is hosted by the zoo, with costumed characters, movie backdrops, face-painting and trick-or-treating for four weekends in a row.
Free family workshops are regularly scheduled at local craft stores where kids make masks, ornaments or decorate cakes.
Performances of spooktacular dramas like Dracula and Frankenstein thrill theater audiences. Cinemas ensure there is at least one good horror movie showing, to scare the living daylights out of brave patrons.
4. Ghost Town Tours:
We live within 20 miles of LaGrange, a country town which boasts the dubious title of “most haunted town” in Kentucky. October weekend highlights include spirited tours of the town’s most famous haunts. Discovering our ghostly neighbors has not featured on my Halloween agenda this year, but maybe next year I will find courage to tag along on a ghostly tour.
Scary, carved, pumpkin faces are symbolic of an American Halloween. The tradition started in Ireland as we discussed in “Halloween – The Irish Connection“, but has been transformed into a uniquely American tradition. The flickering light of Jack-O-Lanterns adds a warm glow to any Trick-or-Treater’s night of Halloween fun.
6. Halloween Decorating:
Halloween decorating is growing more and more elaborate with each passing year I spend in America. Neighborhoods boast pumpkin speckled yards, and at night are all aglow with orange lights. Some focus on scary, ghoulish ghosts, while others focus on the fall. Whatever the theme, my kids love to see the many festive garden displays for America’s Halloween.
7. Neighborhood Cookouts:
Weekends before Halloween bring friends and neighbors together for outdoor cookouts. Scents of smoky foods, cooked on mesquite barbeques or open fires, add magic to the air. Burgers, wings and ribs are tastiest, in the shared euphoria of moonlit dining. Halloween cookouts may be one last attempt to stop the onward march towards winter. They are the perfect way to commemorate summer’s end before the inevitable long months of indoor dining.
8. Halloween Treats:
American magazines, newspapers, websites and blogs present a myriad of suggestions for spooky treats. Grocery stores display cup cakes, cookies and goodies decorated in every shade of fall. Candy corn may be one of the oldest treats, but loved by all my kids.
9. Trunk or Treating:
This year I was introduced to Trunk or Treat for the first time, by our local Mommies group. Cars, vans, and trucks are festooned in freaky decor, entertaining kids as they wander from from trunk to trunk in search of Halloween delights.
10. Trick or Treating:
My top nine reasons for loving American Halloweens truly deserve recognition, but without a shadow of doubt, the best tradition of all, is Trick-or-Treating on Halloween night. I do not live in fear of scary Frankenstein’s or Dracula’s coming a knocking on my door. My Halloween fear revolves around the tricks all that candy will play on my waistline. American candy is pretty scary now that I have discovered Whoppers are just like Irish Maltesers.
Watch out kids!
Hide the Whoppers!
Mom is on the prowl for candy!!!
Hope you all have great craic this Halloween night.
Slán agus beannacht!
(Goodbye and blessings)
Irish American Mom