As the air turns crisp and the leaves start turning into various hues of reds and oranges, Fall lays its claim on Baltimore as Halloween approaches.
History of Halloween
Starting nearly 2,000 years ago, Halloween began as a Celtic celebration called Samhain. The Celts believed that during this festival, the veil between the living and the dead was thin and would allow for easy communication with the dead.
As a Pagan holiday, Samhain consisted of many traditional rituals and associations. These included aspects that we still incorporate into modern Halloween, such as bonfires and bats, which were drawn towards the bonfires and became a staple mascot for the holiday.
Throughout time, Samhain evolved and adapted based on other influences, primarily religious beliefs and interactions with other cultures. It was not until early America that Halloween began shifting into what we know it as today. The celebration of the harvest in the Southern Colonies led to telling ghost stories and taking part in occult activities. This continued and developed until the 19th century when the Irish immigrants came to America, bringing along their own traditions and customs, such as carving jack-o-lanterns. As the 1800s continued, the holiday became more extensive with the inclusion of other games and rituals.
Halloween became a national holiday in the 1950s, which is also when trick-or-treating became extremely popular. Since then, Halloween has remained relatively consistent in terms of how it is celebrated and has become a favorite holiday among many Americans. Each year, there are tons of exciting activities and festivities that you can participate in during the holiday season. In Baltimore, the list is infinite on things to do, but here are some of the best ones!
Celebrating Halloween in Baltimore
Day of the Dead Festival and Parade
El Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is a Mexican holiday honoring deceased ancestors, with an emphasis on celebrating life and death. Bright and colorful skull masks or makeup are typically worn during the festival, and the day is filled with eating, drinking, dancing, and music. On October 31st, from noon to 3, the Creative Alliance will be hosting a Day of the Dead celebration. Come dressed up in costume to feast and dance, while also remembering those who have passed.
On October 23rd, Patterson Park is hosting a lantern festival filled with enchanting, glowing lanterns and floats to brighten the night. With marching bands and fun activities ranging from watching stilt-walkers to perusing the Artist Market, join the Creative Alliance and Friends of Patterson Park for some family fun activities. And if you know a kid eager to wear their costume for Halloween, enter them (and yourself!) into the Halloween Costume Contest. The Lantern Parade and Festival will be a night of fun-filled events you won’t want to miss!
Nature lovers and Halloween enthusiasts unite over the Garden Glow at Ladew Topiary Gardens! With hundreds of various jack-o-lanterns, as well as illuminated sculptures, and other forms of exciting entertainment, Garden Glow will be far from dull. Perfect for families, the abundant local food vendors and educational activities are the perfect way to celebrate the Halloween season. On October 21st, the combination of the beautiful and scenic gardens will perfectly capture the buzz and glow of the Halloween mood for you and your family.
Attention all plant moms and dads: it is time to adopt a new plant friend, just in time for Halloween. Hosted by Mobtown Brewing Company, each “pot your own plant” ticket will allow you to receive four desert plants and three mini spooky pots, like a skull or casket. All other resources will be provided to you — all you have to do is plant your new friend and take it home! On top of also being provided two tasty Mobtown beers, what could be a more relaxing night for you and your friends?
Less of a trick-or-treater and more of a bargoer? Barcocina, right here in Fell’s Point, has just the activity for you! On October 30th, the restaurant will hold a Mask-erade, where you and your friends can dress up and party the night away. Plus, for only $40, there is an Open Bar from
10 PM-12 AM, so you can order any variety of drinks you want. Get ready to have the time of your life and start Halloween the right way, at Barcocina!
Want to combine drinking and pumpkin carving? Don’t Know Tavern is hosting its Annual Pumpkin Fest on October 20th. For $15 a person, you can carve your own pumpkin using the supplied carving tools, while also ordering any drinks you want. With their seasonal selection, like pumpkin drafts for those pumpkin spice fiends, Don’t Know Tavern has a fun way to get you into the spooky Halloween spirit this October.
Trying to balance the constant candy eating with fitness can be hard during Halloween, but Baltimore Bike Party has you covered. Ride your bike in costume around town, then head over to a dance party, which is complete with a photobooth and costume contest. This is a fun way to get a bit of fresh air and get moving, while also celebrating Halloween with a twist. Meet others and impress Baltimore drivers with your costumes as you speed by on your bike on October 29th, starting at St. Mary’s Park. Then, spend the rest of your time dancing the night away!
For a family fun event, consider attending the Halloween Bash in South Baltimore. On October 30th, the night will be full of games, a costume parade, food, drinks, and more! The best part? It’s completely free for you and your family! Happening at Leone Riverside Park, the SOBO Halloween Bash is perfectly convenient for a day of activities that even the kids will enjoy!
Dressing up in a costume and drinking goes hand in hand this Halloween. With a list of 10+ venues, this Halloween Bar Crawl has a variety of deals and options for you. Each ticket gives discounts on drinks and provides free entrance to over five of the venues, along with the ability to enter a costume contest! With frightful themed drinks and 25% select foods, Halloween has never tasted so good.
Don’t miss out on these fun opportunities this Halloween season for you and your friends! With a range of festivities, there is something for everyone to enjoy. However you choose to celebrate this year, Union Wharf wishes you a very happy and safe Halloween!