"It's my family's favorite time of the year to decorate," said Sherry Gillick. "We have always had our annual Halloween taco dinner full of spiders in the cheese, fingers in the meat and skeleton hands to pick up the taco shells."
Gillick's lavish decorations have accumulated throughout the years through purchasing new ones and making her own. The decorated dining room table is mainly for the benefit of herself and her family, but she loves taking photos to show her friends.
"I made all the placecards with the spiders on them: 'Dad-cula,' 'Mummy,' 'Scared-stiff-Steph' (my sister) and 'Ghoulish Granny,' she said.
KRISTA RESTO of Dover Township loves this spooky time of year. Her favorite part about Halloween is that she gets to enjoy it with her three young daughters.
The family does everything from preparing costumes and attending Halloween parties to trick-or-treating and eating candy.
Last year, Resto took her daughters Breyana, 8; Gaviella, 4; and Janessa, 2, trick-or-treating in their neighborhood. Breyana dressed as a vampire, Gaviella was a bat and Janessa was Barbie Mariposa.
Once all three girls were dressed in their pink, purple and black outfits, they were ready to rule the night and run the streets while keeping their eye on the prize, which was obviously the candy - and lots of it.
"I walk with them every year, and I love seeing how excited they get at all the different candy they receive," Resto said.
With three young children, one would think the Halloween adventures wouldn't last long, but according to Resto they power through the allotted two hours of trick-or-treating set by Dover Township.
"They usually want to keep going," Resto said.
Resto also gets in the Halloween spirit.
"I usually wear a witch hat or some cat ears," Resto said.
Purchasing the perfect Halloween costume can sometimes be expensive, especially if it is a popular character or icon.
"With three girls it does get a little pricey. Last year, I bought two of my girls' costumes for this year after season at more than half off," Resto said, "I usually try not to spend more than $20 on a costume, but since we bought them at the end of season it was less than $20 for two costumes."
Resto looks at several options before she buys costumes. She shops at Ollie's, Big Lots and Dollar Tree for deals and accessories.
For the past three years, Resto saved her daughters' old costumes so they can traded or handed down.
"They do reuse costumes when they fit," she said. "My youngest is picking from her sisters' old costumes this year."
DEB THRO, communications director at York Little Theatre, said Halloween is a very exciting time for the company.
Not only does YLT stage its annual production of the "Rocky Horror Picture Show," but it also runs a dual business as a costume rental shop for local residents.
Customers make appointments to visit the shop, most of the time with a costume in mind.
The YLT staff will either find one that matches their ideas, or try to custom-make one.
"The reaction to the costumes and the costume shop is always the same, everyone is always very impressed with how much we have in so little space," Thro said. "It's an exciting place to walk into. Racks and racks of clothing with hats and accessories hanging everywhere."
It is mainly adults who turn to YLT for their costume and Halloween needs.
Last year, it rented out about 50 costumes.
A few orders already have come in for this year, including a king and a carrot.
"We love the rentals. It's an opportunity for a different kind of creativity than the shows," Thro said.
The YLT staff even can offer suggestions for those who aren't sure what kind of costume they want.
"Last year a couple came in and didn't know what they wanted,"said Judy Miller, costume coordinator for YLT. "We finally settled on a gangster and his moll. I got him the fedora, spat and was picking out a wide tie when he asked if I could tie it for him. He didn't know how to tie a tie, so I tied it on my neck, slipped it off and gave it to him pre-tied."
Through helping customers pick out costumes and create memories, YLT staff members recount some of their own Halloween stories.
Thro reminisces about her days growing up and how she spent her Halloweens.
"My favorite Halloween memory is when my family would throw big Halloween parties at our family farm in Wrightsville," Thro said. "Over 100 people would attend and we would dress up, play games, run around in the 'haunted' woods and make a bonfire. These parties went on for about 10 years straight and they were always so much fun."
MUST-HAVE COSTUMES for Halloween 2012 include:
1. Monster High. This popular TV series focuses on classic monsters such as Draculaura, Frankie Stein and Clawdeen Wolf.
2. Angry Birds and Angry Birds Space. The addictive bird-slinging, pig-exploding action of the Angry Birds games will guarantee laughs when you show up at Halloween parties dressed like these feathered friends or their pesky, porky foes.
3. Flutter Fairies. Winged fairies are a new trend for little girls, mixing bugs, glitter, tutus, wands and more into one outfit.
4. Superheroes. This theme has always been a popular costume choice, but now people of all ages have been inspired by the new Avengers movie. The top superhero costumes are Spiderman, Incredible Hulk and Captain America.
5. Gotham City. This summer's "Dark Knight Rises" has brought a resurgence of interest in the Batman franchise.
6. Flashforward. Sci-fi glam looks are new this year, showing off a sexy side to space.
7. Color City. Bright hues are showing up on lips, hair and fingernails; color-washed jeans are all the rage. This costume trend was inspired by pop-star Katy Perry. Costumes include crazy wigs, Morphsuits and wild accessories.
8. Circus clowns. This timeless tradition is always a popular costume. Halloween brings out all types of clowns, from silly to scary.
9. Disney princesses. Little girls have even more choices for Halloween as new princesses are crowned.
10. Gothic romance. This look includes heavy dark makeup and vintage clothing.
- Source: partycity.com
HALLOWEEN is a tradition that began thousands of years ago. It is thought to have originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off roaming ghosts.
At this festival, the Celts believed spirits of the dead would visit them, so they left food and beverages on their porches at night.
In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated Nov. 1 as a time to honor all saints and martyrs; the holiday, All Saints' Day, incorporated some of the traditions of Samhain. The evening before was known as All Hallows' Eve and later Halloween.
Over the years these traditions have drastically changed. Oct. 31 is no longer a tribal celebration, but merely a worldwide phenomenon that allows everyone to show their goofy, creative and even creepy side.
In a number of countries around the world, as the days grow shorter and the nights get colder, people continue to usher in the winter season with gatherings, costumes and sweet treats.
- Sources: buzzle.com, www.history.com