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October 23, 2012 > Spooky, safe Halloween Community Carnival

Spooky, safe Halloween Community Carnival

By Nisha Patel
Photos By Courtesy of Union City Leisure Services

The festivities of Halloween come with ghosts, goblins, and wicked witches, haunted houses and tasty treats. There is no better way to celebrate the holiday than by enjoying games and activities on Sunday, October 28, at the Halloween Community Carnival hosted by Union City Leisure Services.

Held just a few days before Halloween, the carnival is an opportunity for children of all ages to celebrate spooky spirits. Each year, on October 31, costumes, candy for trick-or-treating neighbors, masks, sounds, and decorations are in evidence everywhere. Like many other holidays, Halloween has its origins many centuries ago. Over 2,000 years ago, the Celts who resided in present day Ireland, Great Britain, and northern regions of France, celebrated November 1 as their New Year. Since this time of year was the beginning of colder, darker, winter months, it was more closely associated with death than any other season. The Celts believed that it was during this time that souls of the dead traveled through other worlds, and were more likely to thrive among the living.

A festival known as Samhain, was held to help the dead on their journey. Celts wore costumes of animal skins and heads, told fortunes, sacrificed animals and provided vegetables, and fruits to the wandering souls. After the Celts were conquered by the Roman Empire, Christianity influenced Celtic beliefs and in the 7th century, Pope Boniface IV proclaimed November 1 as "All Hallows." It is from these cultural practices and beliefs that Halloween evolved.

Halloween Community Carnival will include over 50 ghoulish carnival games such as bobbing for apples on a string, goopy hands in pumpkin heads, pin the Kleenex on the ghost, as well as dart games, with wicked prizes, a jumper house, and even an opportunity to tour a haunted house. "Vampire blood" fruit punch will be available for sale and a costume contest is open to all visitors.

This event has been taking place for over fifteen years, and continues to grow every year. In-n-Out, Tapioca Express, and American Licorice have all donated gift certificates as awards for the costume contest and other carnival games. In an effort to keep the carnival affordable and available to local families, Union City Leisure Services depends on the support of local businesses and community partners. The main event sponsor is The Chapel of the Chimes, and other carnival booth sponsors and donors include Carol Dutra-Vernaci, Chong Orthodontics DDS, Inc., Dr. Todd Aki D.D.S., M.S. Orthodontics, Jazzercise, Hometown Buffet, American Licorice, and Blommers Chocolate.

Also at the carnival, the Holly Community Center preschool program will be holding an art showcase. Children from the preschool have created drawings and will be auctioning their artwork to help pay for classroom supplies. Although submissions for the art showcase are not open to the general public, parents and other visitors are welcome to place bids.

Pre-sale tickets are available at the Holly Community Center, Kennedy Community Center, and Union City Sports Center.

Halloween Community Carnival
Sunday, October 28
1 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Holly Community Center
31600 Alvarado Blvd., Union City
(510) 675-5276

Tickets: $5 in advance, $7 at the door

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