The Best Of : Get your spook on

If there’s a holiday that threatens to be more anti-climactic for kids than Christmas day, it’s Halloween. Unlike Easter or Thanksgiving, Oct. 31 is inherently a day for child-like antics and escapism —wearing a costume you’ve planned out all month for only 90 minutes can be a bitter disappointment.

A weekday Halloween is even worse — all that trick-or-treating has to be fit in before bedtime. So, parents, plan to get a little mileage out of that costume by stopping by Mackle Park’s annual Spooktacular, where kids not only have the chance to partake in fun and games, but can have their costume ogled and appreciated in the costume contest.

Children under 11 years of age can participate in the costume contest, though they’ve got their work cut out of them if they’re under four — my five-month-old keeps telling me his fish costume is a sure hit.

Also provided for their entertainment are Halloween science and art projects, face painting, mummy wrapping, sand art and a variety of games to keep the little goblins occupied for a good two hours. The event is from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Oct. 27, so be sure to make a trip to target Friday to get in on the fun.

And here are a few Halloween facts for your reading pleasure:

* The word “pumpkin” is derived from the Greek word “pepon,” which means large melon.

* Trick-or-treating may have originated from the European custom of begging for “soul cakes” in remembrance of the dead, which occurred on November 1 and 2, or the Roman Catholic holidays of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day.

* Escape artist Harry Houdini died of appendicitis on Oct. 31, 1926.

* Halloween originates with the Druid festival of Samhain, when the ancient Britons recognize the end of summer and lengthening days.

* It’s illegal for anyone over the age of 14 to trick-or-treat in Sandusky, OH.

* A Scottish Halloween is steeped in fairy folklore and children carry neepy candles, or a turnip lantern carved with a devil face, to frighten away evil sprites.

© 2007 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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