Some of my friends from far away have been asking me lately whether people around Utah, being as pious as they are known to be,“ do Halloween”. And let me tell you, my friends, a story about Halloween in Utah County!
This is my second year here, and I don’t remember quite a busy night from last year, but oh my word, my doorbell is probably numb at the moment from all the small and big pilgrims ringing it since 5 PM. I think I stopped counting at 20. And we don't even have the light on the porch on, which was, I thought, a sure sign they would "know".
I personally don’t like Halloween – nothing to judge, just a matter of personal taste – and I never buy candy, so I never open the door on this night. But tonight might have changed my mind forever! I’d rather open the door and share in the fun costumes and eager eyes than be behind closed shutters and looking like the wicked witch of the west to all my neighbors’ kids.
But even before tonight! A friend of mine came to visit us in early October – and the whole town was dressed up for Halloween. She even noticed how, driving along the mountains, outside the Provo city limits, there was Halloween décor out in the middle of nothing, on a hill. The Spanish Fork downtown was also dressed up to the occasion, as early as October 8th!
From years past, I have been used to people coming dressed up in costumes at work on this day, maybe sharing candy with co-workers and decorating the cubes in dollar store garb. This was Halloween at work to me in the rest of America. Today, at my new job in the midst of Utah County, home of the BYU, things were much, much more different!
Practically every aisle was decorated, and one whole area was enclosed from floor to ceiling in black tarp, with the lights out – as if in a haunted house. Around 3 PM, the entire company stopped working, practically, and every department started playing loud music, according to the theme they all picked for the department: my area had big band, pirate ship music, and the area adjacent to ours had bluegrass music, as everyone there was dressed up as “swamp”, redneck folk.
And then, the spouses (mostly wives) came in with the kids – every family had anywhere between two and five kids, and every other family had one on the way, too. Everyone was wearing a costume, even kids as small as a few months, and some of the clothes were very intricate and home tailored – nothing you can get at WalMart, I am sure. These things were involved! The makeup, too. The kids went by all the departments, and greeted everyone, picking up one piece of candy from each offering bowl, under the close policing of the parents. It was quite a disciplined affair.
Everyone, kids and parents alike, seemed to have a ton of fun! So, yeah, I think I would conclude that they do do Halloween in Utah. And even are serious about it! Well, as serious as you can be about grown men in tights, that is!
The company I work for not only afforded to let everyone play for a couple of hours, but they also paid for all the candy we gave away to folks and they bought treats for everyone, too, in the form of festive donuts, crullers, lemonade and soft drinks.
Now, what all those parents can possibly do with 5 pieces of candy (per department) x 5 kids x 10 departments + candy from all the neighborhood houses + relatives’ houses is absolutely mind numbing to me! But they surely do prepare a lot for this one night of ghoulish fun! I could almost say they could give lessons to the rest of the nation, or at least the parts I have been familiar with till now.