Halloween is a holiday that is well celebrated in Davis. The modern spectacle of October 31st is loosely based on the Celtic pagan celebration of death and rebirth known as Samhain (meaning November). The original festival occurred on the 31st through November 1st. In the Middle Ages, the Catholic Church attempted to Christianize the festival by producing the consecutive substitute holidays, All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day. Modern Halloween is therefore a weird amalgamation of Celtic paganism and Catholicism. Most recently, commercial interests and pop culture references have also had a strong influence. In Davis, some pagans and occultists still celebrate Samhain, but like most American cities, Halloween is primarily a secularized holiday in which people dress up in outlandish costumes and children go trick-or-treating.
The Catholics also tried to suppress the indigenous Aztec holiday that is now known as Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). Due to some perceived similarities to Samhain, the Catholics changed its original August date to correspond with All Souls' Day. Hugely popular in Mexico, Dia de los Muertos is also celebrated by some Hispanics in Davis.
You can get costumes at Goodwill or on campus from the Drama Department. Other thrift stores in town may have a small Halloween section. Departed costume shops include: Halloween Headquarters, Spirit Halloween, Xtreme Halloween, Halloween City. Note: in 2013 there is no temporary Halloween store available in Davis.
You can read Davis Ghost Stories here.
When Halloween draws near, some people like to visit the Dixon Corn Maze. (The one in Woodland no longer exists, apparently.) There does appear to be one in West Sacramento at Vierra Farms now, though.
Pumpkins are closely associated with Halloween.
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2009-10-29 22:09:31 I remember my first Halloween haunted house experience. I was sixish and went into a church(!) gym blindfolded, along with dozens of other kids. Had to stick my hand into bowls filled with icky things...like worms and eyeballs!! (Read: spaghetti and peeled grapes.) —robinlaughlin
2011-10-06 11:12:13 Driving by from a distance last night it looked like there's a Halloween store going in where Borders was. I didn't get a good look. Anyone have any details? —TomGarberson
Saw it a couple days ago, amazing how fast it "moved in". Of course, I'm sure it will move out just as fast on Nov. 1. Not sure when it opened, but the Enterprise apparently hasn't caught on yet: http://www.davisenterprise.com/business/halloween-stores-creep-into-davis/ —OldDavis73
2011-10-11 10:27:51 I didn't have any trick-or-treaters last year when I lived over by the cemetery, even though it wasn't a student-dominated neighborhood. How the heck do I know whether to buy candy or not? How do parents decide where to take their kids? Should I put up decorations to signal we want trick-or-treaters? —MeggoWaffle
Always buy candy! Worst-case scenario: you have to handle the entire bag yourself, rather than just the leftovers. That's hardly bad news! —TomGarberson
2011-10-11 16:06:33 Anybody know where any haunted houses or worthwhile decorations will be? I'd like to put together an interactive map (without driving up and down the grid for an hour, wasting time and gas). —justincox22