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October 27th, 2007

Let the festivities begin!

Tonight begins my week of Halloween/Dia de Los Muertos revelry.

I think I can say, without any false braggadocio, that there aren't more than 4 or 5 people in the world who know as much about the history of Halloween as I do; I've written one book on it that's become a pretty standard reference, and have a second book coming out next year (ignore the Amazon title - it's been changed to A HALLOWE'EN ANTHOLOGY).

I know other Halloween authorities tend to have Halloween seasons booked with personal appearances, readings, and other publicity jaunts galore. Not me. I don't know how they get all these gigs. I'm easy to find, but I don't get requests for interviews or whatever; I'm often sitting there watching one of these other folks on some news special on Halloween, and just left scratching my head.

But y'know, that's just fine with me, because it leaves me free to enjoy the season. Here's my schedule for the next few days:

Tonight is the big event - the Day of the Dead Festival at Hollywood Forever Cemetery. We visited this for the first time last year, and were so sorry we were on a tight schedule, because it was so amazing we wanted to spend the whole night enjoying it. This year we blocked the schedule around this one event. It's a gorgeous display of a hundred or so ofrendas (altars celebrating a deceased loved one), folk art, traditional music, Aztec ceremonial dancers, and of course there are vendors selling food, drink, and tons of cool Day of the Dead stuff (I'm also taking some extra money this year!).

Tomorrow, we're meeting out-of-town friends for lunch at Downtown Disney, and of course I'll have to do some shopping for Disney Halloween stuff (they also have a Department 56 store there - I never buy anything, but it's always great fun to look at). Then, in the late afternoon, it's off to the Forneris Farms Corn Maze, another event we tried for the first time last year and loved. You really do get lost in those huge stalks of corn!

Monday night may see a trip to the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood for a 3D screening of The Nightmare Before Christmas. Never seen it in 3D.

Halloween night itself will be spent in visiting what are supposedly the two best L.A.-area yard displays (now that the Hallowed Haunting Grounds is no more, boohoo). First stop: Boney Island, a yard display featuring skeletons in a variety of whimsical activities; and then it's off to House at Haunted Hill, which apparently manages to come close to Hallowed Haunting Grounds in effects and atmosphere.

Of course before or after our haunted yard display tour, we'll have to engage in some pumpkin carving and seed roasting.

Thursday or Friday may see an evening visit to Olvera Street's Dia de Los Muertos celebrations. The novenaria procession begins either night at 7 p.m., and is very lovely.

I will, in all likelihood, lose a week of writing here, but, hey - it's Halloween, doggone it!