A Very Victorian Halloween

Heritage Square looks back at mourning traditions of the 19th century.

Everyone's Santa Claus is a little different -- he might be more jolly for you, or his cap might be furrier -- but the fact is the image of our modern Kris Kringle derives very much from advertising of the early 20th century.

Likewise, Halloween? The fall holiday has certainly been around for several hundreds of years, in different forms, but many of our contemporary images and ideas hail from the Victorian era, from the turreted, shadowy houses seen on decorations to the veils and top hats frequently seen around this time of year.

Heritage Square, off the 110 Freeway, is Victorian 365 days a year, but, come Halloween, or the weekend before, it digs deeply into the darker roots of the era it is so much associated with. Nope, the historic houses of the square aren't haunted -- well, we don't think, at least -- but several people show in funerary costumes come October, the better to explore the mourning traditions of the 19th century.

Call it an elegant and historic way to observe the holiday. Spirited, even.

It's happening on Saturday, Oct. 27 and Sunday, Oct. 28. Stories, crafts, and the Victorians' love of spiritualists will all be explored. A hot dog truck will be on the grounds on Sunday, which, we don't need to tell you, is not strictly historic, but a welcome sight come lunchtime.

Cost is ten bucks for adults. Oh, and this is nice: Heritage Square is giving out candy on Halloween as part of its Safe Haven Trick-or-Treating. Please. There's no more atmospheric, movie-like setting to trick-or-treat in, in our books. It's practically like the Munsters'll step out of any of the doorways. (Okay; maybe the '60s influenced our Halloween celebrations, too.)

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