An American Halloween
My first October back in the States after 9 years away was oh so fun! Oh how I dreamed of an American Halloween, roll on the pumpkins and all the pumpkin inspired treats! No one quite does this holiday like the Americans and my neighborhood was so popular for its 'Trick or Treating' while I was growing up, that kids were actually bused in, my mom could easily spend $200 if not more on candy alone! So needless to say, it was always a pretty special time of year. Now that I'm back in LA, I have decided to have my whole October inspired by this holiday to make up for some lost time. So read below for a list of fun things to do in LA to celebrate the season! Of course there are plenty of amazing activities all throughout the States, everyone in their lifetime should try to be Stateside once for the 31st but if you can't make it, I have also included some activities that you can bring home to get you into the festive mood and celebrate like an American!
We have a lot of amusement parks in the SoCal area and needless to say they have all jumped on the Halloween bandwagon in terms of creating scare nights, and what I mean by that is the parks get entirely transformed. Horror mazes, scare zones, and renenvisoned rides are created to get everyone into the Halloween spirit. There's Knott's Scary Farm which has been going for over 40 years, Fright Fest at the roller-coaster heavy Six Flags Magic Mountain, and the one I attended this year, Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights.
So I had a great time at Universal Studios, what is really amazing is that every attraction is inspired by a horror film or TV show. Now don't get me wrong, I do not watch a lot of horror but it is pretty cool nonetheless to be on the recreated sets. I do however love me some Walking Dead, so stepping into Terminus added to my excitement. What's more, if you are a film nerd, a few of the mazes are actually on the studio lot, so you get dropped off among the sound stages and and walk along the 'city streets'. The tram tour, arguably the best part of Universal Studios during the day, drops you off at the Bates Motel and takes you up the dirt track via the Bates House and through the disaster plane crash from War of the Worlds, all incredibly terrifying.
Tayah's Tip: Yes it is open till 2:00am but trust me, get there for early entry (6:15) as the night gets later the lines get longer....one wait time was 2 hours long, and that is pushing it for me.
Link for info and tickets: http://www.halloweenhorrornights.com/hollywood/2015/tickets.php
It is currently open Thursday-Sunday nights till November 1st and some nights have discounted tickets as well as pass holders may receive savings on particular nights. Check it out!
Hey, Hey, Hayride
Fancy having the scare come to you as opposed to walking through it? Why not try the Los Angeles Haunted Hayride, this years theme is the Boogeyman. Take a lengthy ride through Griffith Park's Old Zoo grounds, but perhaps not for the faint of heart! There are a number of other attractions around, including a scary-go-round for youngsters. My ticket is booked for next week, they sell out quick so catch it why you can!
I booked via http://portal.frontgatetickets.com/search/index?term=los+angeles+haunted+hayride&from=from&to=to for discounted tickets.
There are plenty of events for adults but lets be honest, kids get to take part in Trick or Treating, something the child in me would love to still do, at least this year I will get to hand out candy and see the joy on their faces plus some pretty amazing costumes no doubt. If you live in Southern California, you will know that there are no signs of fall, I mean come on, the temp is ranging between 80-100 everyday but never fear, pumpkins can turn your world orange!
Heading to a pumpkin patch to find the perfect pumpkin to carve is an American institution, there are many patches about but I did some research and Tapia Bros Farm looks pretty remarkable. Not only is there a fab pumpkin patch but a corn maze and scavenger hunt....what??!!!! The question is do I need a kid to do the scavenger hunt?
Here is the link to their Facebook page with address and opening time details: https://www.facebook.com/Tapia-Bros-Farm-126868084034172/
Not in LA or the States?
Aside from decorating your house with pumpkins, candles, spiderwebs, witches broomsticks, and creatures of the night, here are some festive crafts and activities that you can do to bring the American Halloween home.
Pumpkin Carving is obviously the number one American Halloween tradition. It is just so lovely to see Jack-o'-lanterns glowing in the moonlight during an evening stroll. Plus this craft leads to a tasty treat: roasted pumpkin seeds! Wash seeds, toss in butter, cinnamon, brown sugar, and salt and bake at 350F for 30 minutes, delicious!
Another craze in pumpkin crafts is painting and decorating the entire pumpkin. For kids, it would be fun to paint the pumpkins as some of their favorite animated characters while for a more sophisticated fall look, spray-paint the entire pumpkin in shades of gold and copper, it adds a chic take on the traditional fall style. Or why not try stenciling patterns or getting out the glitter and jewels, the pumpkin is your oyster!
Would love to recreate this Horchow design![/caption]
Apples play a major roll in the fall season as Halloween falls in the wake of the harvest, Time for some games and sweets. Set up buckets of water and have an apple bobbing competition with your family and then try making your own candy or caramel apples.
I am going to try this recipe curstey of Pillsbury:http://www.pillsbury.com/holidays-celebrations/fall/caramel-apple-how-to?esrc=17499&utm_medium=cpc&utm_source=pinterest&utm_campaign=frnx_omp_frnx_omppb_tdevergreen&pp=0 FYI candy corn will be going all over mine, I have missed the little yellow, orange, and white nuggets!
There are so many wonderful craft ideas that you can do with your family and friends to bring the holiday to life from spider rice crispy treats to stand alone ghosts. And don't forget to get a fab costume! Let your imagine run wild, and celebrate the whimsy of Halloween.
Have a Spooktakular Time!