What is it about Halloween that attracts us to the night? How, as children, did we summon up our courage to cross through unlit areas and onto the front porches of homes reputed to have ghosts or evil residents lurking within, seeking a treat and boastfully promising a trick if we did not get one?
As gusting winds blew leaves through the air and light filtered from the windows of homes casting shadows that caused us to look over our shoulders, we overcame our fears and continued onward with our treat-obsessed pursuits. It was the one festival night devoted to what is scary, what is unknown and what is hidden.
In Idyllwild, the community has created a Halloween with more fun than fright, with the exception of Kathy Sacher Wilson’s Idyllwild Haunted Hotel. There the fear is celebrated as the hotel’s history of unexplained and macabre deaths is unreeled to daring customers brave enough to move through the hotel’s darkened rooms. It opens from 7 to 9:30 p.m., Friday through Monday, at Town Hall.
For those seeking less tingly times and more salubrious sensations, the Idyllwild Community Center’s Program and Activities Committee, headed by Chris Singer, is once again producing the Great Pumpkin Halloween Parade and Carnival.
The parade begins at 4:15 p.m. Monday, Oct. 31, at the top of North Circle, and costumed participants, both two- and four-footed, strut and amble down to the town square. Along the way, merchants on the parade route provide treats to young and old. The Candy Cupboard, near the town square, will provide hot cider for any feeling the chill of the approaching night. Singer suggested parade watchers could also bring candy to give to those in the parade.
Then, carnival festivities begin at 5 p.m. in and around the area in front of the Fort and end at 8 p.m. Singer said the Idyllwild HELP Center this year conducts the costume contest for people, and ARF does the honors for the four-footed. DJ Billy Sheppard provides the music and multiple local organizations provide the expanded food choices. ICC provides the games. Armbands, $5 each, are sold at the carnival entrance and allow participation in all carnival games.
The Idyllwild Outdoor Education Boosters Club is again providing the popular cake walk with separate tickets for participants.
Halloween, or All Hallows Eve, has evolved over the centuries to blend celebrations of harvests’ end with a night to honor the dead, mixing ancient rituals of mysticism and magic. Trick or treat may have begun in Ireland, Scotland and Wales in the 16th century when people would go from house to house reciting verses in exchange for food. Revelers carried hollowed-out turnips carved with grotesque faces lit by candles meant to represent the spirits of the dead.