Halloween, I think, is one of the most festive holidays that the island celebrates.
There might not be a lot of residents decorating their houses for Halloween (some of them have already gone on to Christmas decorations), but many still do dress up in costumes, go trick-or-treating, carve pumpkins, and attend Halloween gatherings.
A Bit of Halloween History
About 2,000 years ago, in areas that are now known as Ireland, the United Kingdom, and northern France, there was a group of people known as the Celts who believed that on the night of October 31, the day before their new year (November 1), the border between the living and the dead became blurred and that the spirits of the dead roamed the earth.
As part of their beliefs, the Celts celebrated an ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain on October 31, the day known as All Hallows Eve. To commemorate the event, the Celts would light huge sacred bonfires where people gathered to burn crops and animals as sacrifices to the Celtic gods. They also wore costumes, typically consisting of animal heads and skins. They would extinguish their fire sometime during the festival, and by the end of the festival, they would re-light it as it was believed to help protect them during the coming winter.
Halloween in the Americas was initially common in Maryland and the southern colonies. Eventually, as the beliefs and customs of different European ethnic groups and the American Indians meshed, a distinctly American version of Halloween began to emerge. The early celebrations of Halloween were to honor harvest season, and were known as “play parties,” and neighbors shared stories of the dead, told each other’s fortunes, danced, and sang.
In the second half of the 19th century, America was flooded with millions of Irish immigrants, which helped popularize the celebration of Halloween nationally. By the late 1800s, there was a move to make Halloween into a holiday that focused more on community and neighborly get-togethers than on ghosts, pranks, and witchcraft. At the turn of the century, Halloween became a household festivity that focused on games, foods, and costumes. Many themes of horror and grotesque were soon removed, thus Halloween began to lose most of its superstitious and religious overtones by the beginning of the 20th century. Between 1920 and 1950, the practice of trick-or-treating was revived as it was a relatively inexpensive way for a community to celebrate Halloween.
Today, the day of the Samhain Festival is popularly known as Halloween and is celebrated annually on October 31. It is a day when people commonly go trick-or-treating, carve jack-o-lanterns, have festive gatherings, wear costumes, and eat treats. It is estimated that Americans spend about $6 billion annually on Halloween, making it the country’s second-largest commercial holiday after Christmas.
SOURCE: HISTORY CHANNEL
There are some popular activities that are not listed below because, as far as I’m aware, the island does not offer them, and they have not been around at all. These activities include pumpkin patches, hayrides, mazes, foliage drives, and Halloween festivals or parades.
Wicked Halloween Activities in Saipan
Make it a challenge and try to visit all of the trick-or-treating sites.
TELL SPOOKY STORIES AROUND A CAMP FIRE
Residents who have lived here for years would definitely have some stories to tell.
HALLOWEEN SCAVENGER HUNT
Have a friendly competition amongst your family and friends and see who can find all of the items first.
GO OUT IN A HALLOWEEN COSTUME FOR THE ENTIRE DAY
You will get stares, but it’s the month when dressing up as something else is more acceptable.
PASS OUT CANDY TO TREATERS
If you’re expecting a high turn-up rate, be sure to have more than enough candy available.
CAMP OUT AT MANAGAHA FOR A NIGHT
What better way to celebrate spooky month than spending the night at a more isolated island a couple of miles away from Saipan?
ENJOY A HALLOWEEN-THEMED DRINK
We might not have Starbucks, but we do have ingredients available for pumpkin spice lattes and other Halloween-themed drinks.
DECORATE YOUR SPACE WITH HALLOWEEN DÉCOR
There are a lot of simple DIY decoration tutorials I’ve seen online that we can do.
GET/GIVE A SCARY FACE PAINT
A simple Halloween costume idea.
GO STARGAZING AT BANZAI CLIFF
You might see a shooting star one night.
GO ON A NIGHT DRIVE ON THE NORTH SIDE OF THE ISLAND
Something a bit spookier to be done on the island, but be sure to be with at least one other person, and only stay on the main roads!
HOST A MURDER MYSTERY DINNER
I think it’ll be super fun to do this, especially with the participants in costumes that match the mystery’s theme.
DO A FUN HALLOWEEN-THEMED PHOTOSHOOT
Even without a costume, night shoots around the island would look pretty spooky.
GO THROUGH THE HAUNTED RIVER PARK AT PIC
Would love to try this out next year if it’ll be available again. Hopefully, I know how to swim by then.
Interesting concept that I think makes trick-or-treating faster and safer as the event happens in one open-space area.
GO THROUGH A HAUNTED HOUSE
The last time I went to one was years ago. I’m still trying to regain the courage to go through one again.
TRY UNDERWATER PUMPKIN CARVING
I never knew this existed until I saw the event page for it and thought it was pretty cool. The event is currently being hosted by Green Flash Dive.
CARVE OR PAINT A PUMPKIN
If carved, put candles inside for added effect!
PARTICIPATE IN A 5K RUN
The holidays are coming up, so why not continue staying fit and healthy while we’re at it?
WEAR HALLOWEEN COLORS FOR A DAY
Black and various shades of orange.
BOB FOR APPLES
One of the few fun, traditional Halloween activities that residents can participate in.
OUTDOOR MOVIE NIGHT
Invite your neighbors and their kids and watch some fun Halloween-themed movies.
WATCH ONE HORROR MOVIE PER DAY
Here is a list of my current favorites!
PARTICIPATE IN A HALLOWEEN-THEMED COSTUME CONTEST
Show off your passion for dressing up and playing a different character.
ASK RESIDENTS ABOUT THEIR FAVORITE OR MOST BELIEVED SUPERSTITION
My most believed one is to not sweep at night because it apparently sweeps away the good spirits.
WEAR MATCHING HALLOWEEN COSTUMES
It would be so fun to wear costumes from an entire movie or tv series *cough*Naruto*cough*.
HOST A HALLOWEEN-THEMED GATHERING/POTLUCK
Make it a costume-themed too and see what your guests show up as.
BAKE SOME HALLOWEEN GOODIES
And share them with your neighborhood or community.
MAKE PUMPKIN TREATS
Pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin cupcakes, etc.
PHOTOGRAPH CHANGING OF LEAVES
Our changing of leaves may not look like the ones in the mainland, but they still change colors.
DANCE UNDER THE RAIN
I mean, why not.
I personally used to love dressing up for the holiday and had gone trick-or-treating and visited haunted houses.
Somewhere along the way, I guess I just lost touch with the festivities and felt like I was “too old” to enjoy it as much as I used to. Boy was I wrong.
About two years ago, I began having the urge to dress up and take part in the Halloween spirit, even more than I used to. I often saw online how people would decorate their homes and the level of spook and awe was amazing, and I would love to be able to do that someday. And then I would see groups of friends who are older and around my age coordinating costumes to a certain theme and I was like – why did I allow my age to get in the way of something fun? I mean, I don’t have the same mindset of wanting to still visit Disneyland/world at my age.
This post is a vow that next year, I will get in touch with the Halloween festivities. I will dress up. I will decorate my home. I will have fun.
What activity are you most looking forward to doing in the month of October?