Holidays come and go all year long.  And with the vast array of food holidays, there is probably something you can celebrate every day of the year if you want.  Although your doctor might not be too happy with you at the end of it.  Not unless they are the strangest doctor I have ever seen, you have the most amazing metabolism or you have mastered the secrets of the universe and have learned to eat as much as you want every day and still not gain weight. (And then I want to know your secrets, just so long as it doesn’t mean running a Marathon every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  My knees just wouldn’t forgive me.)  But despite the plethora of holidays, there are just some holidays that mean more to us.  And for my daughter, one of these holidays is Halloween.

No, Halloween isn’t the most important of those holidays.  It was funny last night as we were sitting in the car, she explained to me what holidays she had to look forward to.  Of course, the next one on the list was Halloween.  But then there was Thanksgiving, followed by Christmas, and New Years.  After which we came to the lesser holidays with Valentine’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day being February and March mainstays.  (All apologies to Dr. Martin Luther King and Abraham Lincoln included here.) Then we move onto the highest of holy days with Easter. (Which means the Easter bunny for the non-religious . . . or for my daughter who still believes in the Easter Bunny even though she knows the religious reason for the holiday.)  And then we move to the fourth of July before moving back to Halloween once again.

Those are the important holidays to my daughter.  And while Christmas is my daughter’s absolute favorite holiday, the secular holiday of Halloween comes in a close second.  Why is Halloween such a close second?  You mean other than candy, costumes, and creepy creatures? (Yes, I can alliterate too.)  I think there are a plethora of reasons that make Halloween such a fun holiday for people.  And what’s great about this holiday is that it comes with none of the family baggage of other Holidays.  No one has to worry about who is making what dish at Halloween.  And no one is worried about whether they got a gift for their Aunt Gladys better than the one their sister got Aunt Gladys last year.  Other holidays can make you question your sanity.  Because nothing screams insanity more than obsessing whether a toaster oven beats out a Kitchen Aid Mixer.

But I think the great thing about Halloween, above and beyond all of the fun of the individual night’s trick or treating or the costume party where Tina at the office is going to go as a sexy Candy Striper and Jimmy who looks unassuming the rest of the year looks like a god when he puts on the Thor costume.  (You never realized he had all those muscles did you?  Going to the gym three times a week does have its benefits.)  Halloween has been getting more creative and more inventive with every passing year.  As the scares of yesteryear with poison candy and razor blades in candy apples fade off into the distance, Halloween morphs into something even more amazing than it was when you were a child.

So this started me to thinking about all of the ways Halloween has adapted into the huge holiday that it is today.  What has made it such, and what fun things are out there in store for you this Halloween?   Which of course led me to create a new list.  Because you can never have too many lists . . . maybe.  I don’t know.  I think there are some conspiracy theory people that probably have too many lists.  And really poor understanding of how to use yarn.  Ugh!  Regardless, I came up with ten great things about Halloween that you should be looking forward to.

10 Things To Enjoy This Halloween

10) Interesting New Candies

Halloween brings out the candy crazy in all of us.  With so many different candies now to choose from, candy companies have to up their game and try to create some new flavors that you have never tried before.  And who gets to benefit from this?  The consumer.  You have to love all of the new different flavors.  M&M released Cheesecake flavor and for this Halloween, they released Cookies and Cream.  Or Cookies and Scream as it is a Halloween treat after all.  Go out and check out new flavors of candy at your local store.

9) Pumpkin Decorating –

This doesn’t mean just your own pumpkin carving.  But the cool thing is how many different ways they have to decorate the pumpkin.  I remember that it was all having your parents carve the pumpkin up for you and if you were lucky you would do a slightly different face this year with one extra tooth.  Now they have the equipment to Make a Mr. Potato head style pumpkin for the little ones or ornate designs for the more ambitious Halloween decorators.  And if you don’t want to do it yourself, you can always go ahead and try something like the Rise of the Jack O Lanterns.  It’s absolutely incredible.

8) Harvest Festivals

It’s that time of year where people used to pick crops and settle in for the winter.  It’s why Thanksgiving is a big food holiday because of all the crops they picked prior to that time.  Even today they have harvest festivals celebrating the end of the harvest season.  Go anywhere they have crops and I can bet they have some amazing harvest festival.  Games, picking crops, carnivals, and festivals will all be happening around this beautiful holiday.  If you haven’t been to one, you really need to go. And who doesn’t love getting some amazing Apple Cider?

7) Horror Movie Marathons

For the horror auteur in all of us, go ahead and check out your local cinema.  Aside from whatever interesting holiday horror fare they have, there is usually somewhere that will do screenings of multiple horror movies for your terror delight.  If you are not a horror fan, you might find something like a screening of a Nightmare Before Christmas or the Book of Life.  There is always some ghoulish delight to involve yourself in around Halloween.

6) Costume Parades

Never been in a parade before?  Now you get the opportunity with the best of your Halloween Costumeware.  You will get to enjoy a scare fest walking down some Boulevard and catch all of the other amazing costumes that are out there.  There are some pretty spectacular ones.  If you have kids with you, just make sure to check on the parade and make sure it’s child-friendly.  There are some ones that are distinctly adult.

5) Dia De Los Muertos Events –

Maybe this is unfair of me to talk about Dia De Los Muertos as a new thing when really it is not.  It’s been celebrated for hundreds of years in Mexican culture and really is a separate event entirely from Halloween.  Although a lot of the amazing imagery and costumes occur for both events.  It’s gotten so big now that Disneyland has special events and Pixar is about to release a new movie called Coco that deals with everything surrounding that special day to remember our ancestors.  If you can, you should check one out.

4) Halloween Theatrical Performances –

Not to be outdone by all of the goings on of this time of the year, theaters have gotten in on the action of Halloween.  From kids plays to more adult entertainment they have a litany of places that will regale you with tales of the unknown and spooky although with a glint in their eye.  Find your local playhouse and see what they are doing for the holiday.

3) Haunted Houses / Mansions / Shacks / Ships

Don’t get so caught up in any particular one place.  Of course, hauntings can occur in all kinds of places.  It can be in a barn or in a big house.  And there are tons of them around you.  The next door neighbors used to do something like that outside their apartment and created an incredible haunted place.  And every city seems to have these places where hauntings have occurred.  Enjoy learning about the past and get spooked.

2) Halloween Themed Parties –

It’s so simple to get a bunch of friends together, get dressed up, and throw a party.  With all of the fun different things you get on Pinterest you can spark your imagination for design.  From adult themed parties to parties put together for kids, there are always some amazing ones around.  And they get wilder and more ornate with every year.  And your local Halloween shop or a party city near you will have tons of decorations.

1) Halloween Themed Amusement Parks –

There are some crazy amazing things to do at amusement parks these days.  And they all seem to get into the Halloween spirit. Disneyland does Mickey’s Halloween Party where adults and kids can come out and trick or treat.  (And where else can you go as an adult to dress up and Trick or Treat.) Knott’s Scary Farm has been around since 1973, which seems impossible. Originally a three-night affair, Knott’s entertains with mazes, treats, and a ton of tricks as you wind your way through its streets.  Elvira frequently stops by as a kind of master of ceremonies.  And Universal does its own bit of Halloween prestidigitation.  While they might not be near you, you should definitely check out your local amusement park to see what themed Halloween adventures you can participate near you.  They will make you squeal with joy.

Continue The Conversation-

So what Halloween things are you excited about doing this year?   Do you have a favorite kind of candy?  What was your favorite thing to do as a kid?  How have things changed about Halloween as an adult?  As always, I would love to hear from you.  And definitely, check out some of the amazing things around you for Halloween this year.

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Until next time, this is me signing off.

David Elliott, Single Dad’s Guide to Life