A helping of Halloween

October 23, 1999

Alex Coolman

As if ordinary life wasn't scary enough, here comes Halloween.

Around town, the children are getting antsy and mischievous, normally

staid adults are planning to dress up like pirates and princesses and

organizations that are typically the most responsible segments of society

are gearing up to show a different face to the community -- a face that

has vampire's fangs and yellow eyes of a zombie.


With haunted houses, carnivals and parades, the Newport-Mesa area offers

a variety of options for the witching season. The only real question is

how much terror does it take to have a good time.

On the fairly sedate end of the spectrum, pumpkin patches offer a low-key

way to enjoy the season. At Country Fair Pumpkins in Costa Mesa, kids

scramble through a hay-strewn field in search of an ideal gourd for

carving. Some of the pumpkins are petite little vegetables that are

suitable for juggling, while others are massive and misshapen. They slump

like mushy beanbags and could only with considerable ingenuity be carved

into anything resembling a face.

Six-year-old Cole Blower of Newport Beach selected a pumpkin on a recent

afternoon that was possibly the ideal size: large enough to afford a big,

toothy jack-o'-lantern grin, but small enough to be lifted by a single

energetic kid.

Workers at the patch caution against taking a knife to a pumpkin too

early -- they rot quickly, especially in the kind of heat the area has

experienced recently, and what looks like a solid gourd can morph in a

matter of days into a fuzzy, soupy mess.

But Blower, who plans to hit up the key trick-or-treating neighborhoods

of Balboa Island, Bayshore and Newport Heights in his Pokemon Charmeleon

costume, didn't look like he was in the mood to be patient.

For kids who hope to get started on their candy-collecting endeavors

while the sun is still high in the sky, the Orange County Fairgrounds

holds trick-or-treating at its swap meet on Halloween day. Children can

try their luck asking swap meet vendors for candy, though there's always

the chance that they'll receive a pack of discount socks or a set of

socket wrenches.

Also a notable early-strike opportunity is the ninth annual "Halloween

Happening" at Fashion Island, which runs from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Oct. 31.

Costumed kids -- more than 3,000 are expected, organizers said -- can

rampage through the mall in search of merchant-provided candy.

For those who need an absolutely immediate fix of fall, the Fairgrounds'

Harvest Festival, which runs today and tomorrow, offers a few

Daily Pilot Articles Daily Pilot Articles