Area kids of all ages ring in Halloween season
Appeal Staff Writer
The retail side of Halloween – decorations, candy and costumes – has become domestically, in the past decade, a $5 billion a year industry, according to 2007 numbers from the National Retail Federation.
The average American will spend $23.33 on costumes this year. Nationwide, 18- to 24-year-olds lead the charge, spending more than $34 on costumes.
“I can’t even begin to tell you how much business we do around Halloween,” said Monica Coleman, co-owner of Revelations costume shop. “More and more adults are into it.”
The 18-to-40 set, she said, walks into her store with a single goal in mind: To out-do friends, neighbors and even significant others.
“A lot of people plan adult-only mixers and parties, it’s not just a holiday for kids to celebrate,” Coleman said. “And anything goes – for most people the more outlandish and detailed the costume, the better.”
For some, it’s not about what they wear as much as where they live.
Dayton resident John Goeschi starts decorating his home on Oct. 1. By the end of his first week of setting up cobwebs and backlights, he has “completely transformed our house – and it’s scary in more ways than one,” said wife Sharry.
“He’s just a big kid, and every day he comes home with something new,” she said. “With us though, it’s a kids holiday. I have a 15-year-old and my house is a high school hangout.
“So it’s for all my kids, the younger ones – and the, um, big one.”
In true keeping-up-with-the-Goeschis fashion, residents of Occidental Drive have also “stepped it up” said Diana Strobel, a resident of the neighborhood for five years.
“Oh yeah, as soon as we see the (Goeschi) family start to decorate, it begins,” Strobel said. “It’s like a competition between neighbors now.
“But when they brought the 8-foot gargoyle out – it was like ‘they’re still the champions.'”
In Carson, Rafael Adrian – who emigrated from Tijuana, Mexico, in the late 1970s and has called Carson City home since 1980 – begins his front yard’s transformation to a haunted house in late August.
For the third year, Adrian will use his haunted home to benefit the Ron Wood Family Resource Center.
The home on 1137 Lindsay Lane is open for the boo business from sunset to 10 p.m. through Halloween. Cash donations or two cans of nonperishable food per person are requested as donations.
“We ask that people give,” Adrian said. “This year we have more labyrinths and things in the rooms inside. You have to go and see for yourself.”
Decorating has, in the past, been a family affair for Adrian, whose five children range in age from 29 to 9. This year, his older sons were busy with work, leaving the lion’s share of the work to Adrian and his younger charges.
“The high school kids helped this year,” he said. “I’m kind of crazy, you know – I love Halloween. It’s great to see people come here, the kids and the adults and to do what we can for the center.
“This is my hometown and I enjoy everyone who comes.”
For those looking to push boundaries and truly transform for Halloween, Naughty or Nice has expanded its costume line for adults.
But even they can draw the line with some Halloween treats.
“I think the part that’s kind of disturbing is more and more younger (girls) come in to try on racy costumes,” said co-owner Laurie Mueller. “We changed our policy at our store. There were too many younger girls trying to get racier costumes and returning with their parents to return costumes.”
But the trend of recent years to use Halloween as an excuse to dress as scantily as possible – even for adults – may be shifting, Mueller said.
“The costumes we have are not as racy as they have been in the past years,” she said. “I think sexy costumes are still very popular, but a lot now are geared so anyone can buy them. We carry (sizes) small to a 4x where anyone can wear them and not be uncomfortable having it on.”
Indeed, this year less-revealing pirate outfits and Marie Antoinette knock-offs, along with “cute” police and military outfits are supplanting staples like the schoolgirl and playboy bunny look, retailers said.
“The traditional nurse/witch/devil/angel is also popular,” Mueller said. “We have more than 1,000 costumes this year for every body-type and every need. People can go as far as they want. But the main thing we try to tell people is to have fun.”
Which to celebrate: Nevada Day or Halloween?
It’s a question Nevadans have been asking themselves since the late 1930s, but a tradition that can be traced back to the state’s admission into the Union in 1864.
Nevada’s birthday is also the celebration of ghouls and ghosts and, from the looks of it, the latter has won out.
Carson City’s Nevada Day Parade and festivities date back to 1938. In the state’s earliest years, only the Pacific Coast Pioneer Society on the Comstock celebrated “Admission Day.”
It was not until 1891, historians say, that Admission Day (changed to Nevada Day in 1933) was legislatively declared a judicial holiday with no court business to be transacted on Oct. 31.
“The battle lines were drawn between ‘traditionalists,’ and the ‘grinches,'” wrote Nevada state archivist Guy Rocha.
The tumult and back-and-forth continued for more than a century, when commerce finally took over, uncoupling the increasingly commercial Halloween from the increasingly significant Nevada Day celebrations.
“With the passage of AB396 by the 1997 legislature, Nevada voters, on November 3, 1998, advised the 1999 Legislature they wanted to celebrate Nevada Day on the last Friday in October beginning in 2000,” Rocha wrote. “The Legislature, after much heated debate, complied.”
Since the passage, the state holiday has been celebrated with a reprieve for workers on Friday with a parade and festivities taking place in Carson City on Saturday.
Congruous with legislators’ plans, this year’s Nevada Day will take place on Oct. 27 -four days before Halloween, leaving “plenty of room for the celebration of both,” a local historian said.
Though the date has been settled, Nevada Day has shrunk to a celebration for the north. While Carson residents make haste to enter parade floats and don their finest “Native Nevadan” couture, Clark County spends the day preparing for Southern California celebrities and wannabes to invade Las Vegas for a Halloween blow-out.
“The event (is) principally a regional celebration in the northwestern part of the state,” Rocha wrote. “Parade entries and visitors from eastern and southern Nevada were few and far between. Californians at one time came in large numbers, but no more. While Nevada and Carson City’s populations (are) bigger than ever, the Nevada Day celebration (has) gradually declined in comparison.”
As ghosts, goblins and witches prepare to hit the streets in search of fun and treats, the National Fire Protection Association is urging caution in order for children and adults to be safe this Halloween. According to the NFPA, Halloween is the fifth highest day of the year for candle fires, behind Christmas, Christmas Eve, New Year’s Day and New Year’s Eve.
Halloween Fire Safety Tips
• Purchase only costumes, wigs and props labeled flame-resistant or flame-retardant. When creating a costume, choose material that won’t easily ignite if it comes in contact with heat or flame. Avoid billowing or long trailing features.
• Dried flowers, cornstalks and crepe paper are highly flammable. Keep these and other decorations well away from all open flames and heat sources, including light bulbs, heaters, etc.
• Use flashlights when illuminating Jack-o’-lanterns. Use extreme caution when decorating with candlelit Jack-o’-lanterns, and supervise children at all times when candles are lit. When lighting candles inside Jack-o’-lanterns, use long, fireplace-style matches and be sure to place lit pumpkins well away from anything that can burn including doorsteps, walkways and yards.
• Remember to keep exits clear of decorations, ensuring nothing blocks escape routes.
• Use flashlights as alternatives to candles or torch lights when decorating walkways and yards. They are much safer for trick-or-treaters, whose costumes may brush against the lighting.
• Instruct children to stay away from open flames or other heat sources. Be sure children know how to stop, drop and roll in the event their clothing catches fire. (Stop immediately, drop to the ground, covering your face with your hands, and roll over and over to extinguish flames.)
• Instruct children who are attending parties to locate the exits and plan how they would get out in an emergency.
• Provide children with lightweight flashlights.
– National Fire Protection Association: http://www.nfpa.org/halloween
General safety tips
• Parents should not allow their children to trick-or-treat without adult supervision.
• Visit only those homes that you or your child are familiar with.
• Children should be told to never enter someone’s home without parental permission.
• Children should never approach any vehicle and report to an adult if someone tries to entice them toward a vehicle.
• No treats should be eaten until inspected by an adult.
• Costumes should be reflective, nonrestrictive, not pose a tripping hazard, and allow the child to breathe and see without obstruction.
• Drivers. Be extremely vigilant for children darting through the darkness.
– Source: Douglas County Sheriff’s Sgt. Tom Mezzetta
Beware of treat-seeking bears
Something to keep in mind this year is the commonness of bears in our neighborhoods.
Bears love sweets and may be attracted by the scent of a child’s trick-or-treat bag. If confronted by a bear, stay with others in a group, do not try to run away.
You can’t out run a bear and it may provoke a pursuit. Slowly back away, heading for shelter. Talk calmly among yourselves so that the bear identifies you as human. If necessary, drop your trick-or-treat bag as you retreat, but do not throw it at the bear as it may be mistaken as an act of aggression.
Give the bear a wide berth as you seek shelter.
– Source: Douglas County Sheriff’s Sgt. Tom Mezzetta