Halloween is not only a family-favorite holiday in America, it’s a time-honored tradition. It’s the one time of year when kids of all ages can dress up in crazy costumes, solicit candy from complete strangers and get their spook on. No matter how old we get, the traditions of Halloween invoke feelings of fun, adventure and nostalgia, but Americans aren’t the only ones getting in on the fun.
Halloween traditions are deeply rooted in the ancient Celtic Festival of Samhain, in which people wore costumes and lit bonfires to ward off the spirits of the dead believed to return to Earth for the night. In America, the festivities evolved into trick or treating, bobbing for apples and turning our homes into haunted houses of horror. In other parts of the world many of these same traditions are shared along with a few more that are equally fun and creative.
If you plan to spend your October abroad, then Ireland, the birthplace of Halloween, is the place to be. In this country you’ll find all the classics — ghosts and witches, trick-or-treating and Jack O’Lanterns, along with some unique traditions more directly related to the traditions of Samhain. In addition to dressing up in spooky costumes and decorating houses with carved pumpkins, on All Hallow’s Eve, Irish families enjoy games of snap-apple (attempting to bite an apple hanging from a string) and sharing a barmbrack, a traditional Irish fruitcake made with raisins and sultanas with a treat baked inside. The lucky one to find the treat is expected to have good luck in the year ahead. On Oct. 31, Irish cities host bonfires, carnivals and parades while many of the country’s most celebrated “haunted” castles host tours and events.
Halloween is becoming an increasingly popular holiday in Japan thanks to this annual opportunity to stretch the imagination with creative costuming. Rather than focus on family-friendly activities like trick-or-treating, Halloween in Japan is all about the costumes and the merriment. Bars and restaurants capitalize on the holiday by hosting events while street parties are popular in the larger cities.
Mexico, along with other Latin American countries, is well-known for its Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebrations, but many people aren’t aware Día de las Brujas (Day of the Witches) is also recognized. While Día de los Muertos is a day to honor the dead that return to Earth for 24 hours with parties, parades, treats and colorful costumes marked by sugar skull face painting, Día de las Brujas occurs Oct. 31 and is a day for children to partake in the fun by dressing up in costumes and going trick or treating.
With kids back in school and the grueling temperatures of summer finally behind us, life is starting to get back into the routine of fall. That doesn’t mean, however, that family fun has to stop. Big international trips may not be practical for all family travelers this time of year, but places like South County in Rhode Island offer so many fun things to do for families, a quick trip to this East Coast haven is practically a must.
As the only major U.S. airline to own a flight school, United Airlines already hit a major milestone, and now the carrier celebrates another important — and historic — step as the inaugural class of United Aviate Academy pilots graduates, leading the next generation of aviators. The 51 students in the graduating class were majority, at 80 percent, women and people of color — another stride toward United’s goal of training 5,000 new pilots by 2030 with half women or POC.
Take Part in England’s Exmoor Dark Skies Festival Dusk Wildlife Safaris and Children’s Art Competition
Planning a trip to the United Kingdom soon? Time your travel for the Exmoor Dark Skies Festival in Somerset, England, from Oct. 13 to 29. The setting is Exmoor National Park, located within a gorgeous mix of farmland, wild forests, stunning valleys and moorlands in South West England.
Part of a family who just loves a good scare or ghost story? This fall, wherever your travels might take you, chances are you’ll be near an Omni hotel or resort with a history of haunted sightings and other scary happenings. So, why not learn a bit about where you’re staying to make the experience all the more eerie …
United Airlines is in the midst of a major initiative to modernize its fleet over the next several years. After first announcing the plan in 2021, planes fitted with United’s signature interior are finally beginning to appear across the airline’s narrowbody fleet of Boeing and Airbus planes. United flyers are sure to notice these enhancements from the moment they step on board: Each new or updated plane sports remodeled seats, seatback entertainment screens for everyone, Bluetooth connectivity and more, all adding up to a better experience on every journey.
Overshadowed by nearby Portland and overlooked by tourists bound for the popular coastal towns of Camden and Boothbay Harbor, Brunswick is not on the radar of most family travelers in Maine. But couples looking for a cozy getaway will find fine dining, antiques, art and quiet streets for strolling, many lined by distinguished homes and well-kept gardens.