Making Halloween last all week long

By Kate Butler
Special to the Echo
Published Oct. 2 2018

What’s your favourite part of Halloween? The creative costumes? The eerie decorations and the creepy stories? The candy? You can enjoy all this and more as part of Hali Halloween a celebration of all things fun and spooky about Halloween in Haliburton. Building on the success of Halloween celebrations in and around the village in previous years Hali Halloween will feature an entire week of varied and exciting programs from Oct. 25 to Nov. 1 along with workshops throughout October to help get you in the spirit – pun intended!

A program of the Municipality of Dysart et al Hali Halloween features many community partners including the Haliburton Highlands Museum and Visible Voices Open Arts Studio. A driving force behind this event has been Amy Brohm one of the biggest fans of Halloween I know. When I asked her about the huge appeal of the holiday for her she told me “I think it’s about exploring the idea of becoming something or someone different.”

Disguising yourself is of course a huge part of Halloween and you can get started with workshops including mask making and foam wig making happening at Visible Voices on Wednesdays starting on Oct. 3. Now once your costume is ready you’ll of course want to show it off! On Oct. 27 meet at the Dysart municipal office to parade through the village to Head Lake Park for some entertainment inspired by the season. The parade is for all ages and there will be prizes!

The modern tradition of Halloween costumes actually has a long history. The roots of Halloween as we know it lie in the early Celtic New Year known as Samhain a time when it was believed that the barrier between this world and the “otherworld” became very thin and it was thought that disguising yourself might keep you safe. You can learn more about the history of Halloween by joining us at the Haliburton Museum for a special talk on Oct. 25 which will be followed by ghost stories and the chance to explore the museum’s historic buildings under the cover of darkness – who knows what you might see…or sense!

Edgar Allen Poe is perhaps one of the authors most associated with Halloween – his atmospheric tales of the macabre just seem to embody the season. Nightfall a theatrical production which brings his short stories to life will be presented by local youth at the museum on Oct. 26 and 27. This is a great opportunity to support local talent and also have a seasonal scare!

Though we might think of Halloween as simply a dark and spine-chilling time of the year it’s important to remember that traditions of honouring and celebrating the dead can be found all over the world and that they can also be full of joy. One of the highlights of this year’s festivities will be our Day of the Dead celebrations. Melodie Acero co-ordinator of Visible Voices will be sharing Mexican traditions at the Wednesday workshops as well as at a special Day of the Dead event at the museum on Nov. 1.

According to Acero “Day of the Dead is one of the most lively and beautiful festivals in Mexico full of flowers music art costumes and candlelight. One reason for the lack of somberness is that this Mexican tradition speaks to a joyful afterlife that death is nothing to fear.” She notes that

“[t]he displays of colour and joy and laughter are also to show our departed loved ones that we are OK so as not to worry their visiting souls.” This year’s Day of the Dead celebrations will be an exciting new addition to Hali Halloween and a wonderful opportunity to learn about another culture and its traditions – don’t miss it!

Though this year’s Hali Halloween schedule is jam-packed with events the Hali Halloween committee envisions the festival continuing to grow year upon year. Looking to the future Brohm said that she “would really like to see it grow into a multi-disciplinary arts event around the theme of Halloween.”

For more details about this year’s fantastic events visit – don’t miss out on the most spooktacular time of the year!