Halloween 2016 will arrive on October 31, as it does every year as the days are getting cold and winter is drawing close. This much-loved holiday works on many levels. For younger kids, it’s a time of costumes and trick-or-treating. Others see it is a chance to don a costume and party their cares away. It can be a night of pranks, a reason to carve a pumpkin, or an occasion to visit a haunted house. Whatever your age or your style, Halloween is the holiday you make it, but mostly it is just about fun.
The history of Halloween is shrouded it mystery, and the holiday has continued to evolve as each new October 31 arrives. Societies around the world recognize days of the dead and times when the line between reality and the other realm seems thinner than normal. The ancient Celts celebrated their harvest festival, Samhain, at one of these times. It marked the transition from the light half of the year to the dark half. While Samhain lasted for months, it was October 31 that the dead came to earth, according to Celtic thinking.
In the eighth century, the Catholic Church launched All Saint’s Day, held on November 1. This feast day honored everyone who did not have a day of their own. Like Mardi Gras before Lent, All Hallow’s Eve became a time to have a little fun. Over the years, All Hallow’s Eve eventually became called by the name we know today, Halloween.
The Halloween events that we known today are much more recent in origin. Many of the Irish immigrants of the 1800s brought their traditions, which mixed with other cultures, Gothic novels and monster movies. In the Old World, it was traditional to carve turnips, as way to help souls in purgatory. But in the New World, pumpkins were more readily available. It wasn’t long until the orange gourd became the symbol of the holiday and theme of many Halloween costumes.
There’s always been a streak of mischief running through the holiday—in the old days, it was a chance to play tricks on entire communities and not all of them were fun. With the addition of trick-or-treating and kid-friendly events, Halloween has become a friendlier holiday.
Of course, it’s not always about the kids. If you’re looking for a chance to party the night away and ramp up the sex appeal for Halloween 2016, plenty of adults-only Halloween parties happen on October 31—and the weekends before and after. Many of the street festivals and haunted houses welcome families during the day and turn into an over-21 fight-and-fun fest after dark.
Some of the parties will never ever be appropriate for kids and that’s okay with everyone in attendance. One of these is Key West’s legendary Fantasy Fest will return for Halloween 2016, bringing its bawdy fun to the southernmost point in the U.S.
Many of the Las Vegas parties are adults-only. Its chic clubs, like Ghostbar and Rain—both at The Palms—have costume contests, music and plenty of hot party action. The Fetish and Fantasy Ball has become so popular that the party outgrew its first venue and moved to a bigger and better one.
In New York City, Greenwich Village’s Halloween 2016 parade welcomes people of all ages to participate, but you need to come in costume to walk in the parade. Don’t expect to see the typical Halloween costumes in the parade—the most creative souls show off their creations in the Village’s mile-long street parade. Every year, nearly 1 million people attend the parade with an audience at least double that size watching on TVs around the world.
Whether you stick close to home or travel far and wide, you won’t be far from Halloween fun on October 31—the night when the line between our world and the next seems more blurred than others.