October 31st is a day celebrated across America and other countries known as Halloween. As this ghostly day approaches, let’s take a look at how it all got started and what it means to us here in Hawaii.
A bit of history
This day of Halloween dates back over 2,000 years ago to the area of what is now Ireland and the UK. It marked the end of summer and the beginning of winter. The Celts of that time believed ghosts of the dead would return to Earth causing lots of trouble and damage to crops. So they built bonfires and wore animal skins to ward off the deadly spirits.
But after several hundred years, the day started becoming a time of honoring and recognizing the dead. Huge bonfires were created. People dressed up as saints, angels, and devils. And stories of the dead were told which later developed into the traditional ghost stories we hear today.
In the late 1800’s the Irish fled their country escaping the Potato Famine and immigrating to America. Their Halloween customs followed with them. And celebrations started taking shape in America with costume parties and parades.
In the early 1900’s Halloween started becoming more commercialized and the concept of “trick-or-treating” developed. Entire communities shared in this new tradition by offering treats to local children in order to prevent tricks from being played on them.
Streets of Waikiki
Now we move to the present day. And almost everyone is dressed up in costume. But the costumes now are very diverse. They could be as cute as a princess or as horrifying as a vampire. And what better place on Earth to see all this action than Hawaii.
Waikiki is the place to be if you’re a big fan of Halloween. It’s been a long-standing tradition that everyone gets dressed up in their wildest costumes and start walking up and down the main strips. As soon as the sun goes down, the witching hour begins. Both tourists and locals come out to show off their best costumes. It’s a great time of people watching. And many photo opportunities too.
Party Party Party
As the night moves on so does the action, moving from the streets to the hotels and bars. Live music, costume parties, and haunted houses, all create the spooky vibe felt throughout the night air.
Almost every bar in Waikiki will have some sort of costume party and contest. The hotels will put on frightening nights of haunted houses, ghosts, and goblins, ready to scare you to death. Enjoy a nightmare at the Dole Haunted Plantation. Or have a less frightening time of trick-or-treating with International Marketplace’s local merchants.
Whatever your desire (or scare level) you can be sure to find some entertaining action somewhere in Hawaii this Halloween.
Related Halloween Blog Post: Ghost Stories of Hawaii
Below are photos of our guests from Halloween’s Past (courtesy Polynesian Hostel)
Cover Image: mezadui.com
Streets of Waikiki Image: hawaiiteetimes.com