Ghosts and Goblins haunt San Pedro

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 12, No. 42            October 31, 2002

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Children enjoy the ABC Pre-School Halloween Bazaar
Winners of the SPRCS costume competition

Today, October 31st, or All Hallows Eve, is the Christian festival of All Saints. According to Compton's, the customs and superstitions accumulated over the ages surrounding the celebration of Halloween have their origins in the autumn festivals of earlier times.

   The ancient Druids had a three-day celebration at the beginning of November. They believed that on the last night of October, spirits of the dead roamed abroad, and the Druids lit bonfires to drive them away. Even after November 1st became a Christian feast day honoring all saints, many people clung to the old pagan beliefs and customs that had grown up around Halloween. Some tried to foretell the future on that night by performing such rites as jumping over lighted candles. In the British Isles, great bonfires blazed for the Celtic festival of Samhain. Laughing bands of "guisers" (young people disguised in grotesque masks) carved lanterns from turnips and carried them through the villages.

   In the United States, children carved faces on hollowed-out pumpkins and put lighted candles inside to make jack-o'-lanterns. Halloween celebrations today reflect many of these early customs. Stores and homes display orange and black figures of witches, bats, black cats and pumpkins. Children put on costumes and masks and go from house to house demanding "trick or treat." The treat, usually candy, is generally given so the trick is rarely played.

   In San Pedro, Halloween is also celebrated with much revelry. Lavish decorations adorn businesses such as the Holiday Hotel, the Pier Lounge and Wet Willy's, popular "haunts" for local ghouls and goblins. For those wishing a good scare, the Pier Lounge is providing ghost stories tonight (Thursday) at 6:30 p.m. Terrifying tales will be told, but only to children who are accompanied by a parent or adult guardian. Children are asked to bring a flashlight along to add to the fun. Treats will be provided and a prize given to the child with the best costume.

    A large number of residents and visitors celebrated this spooky occasion last weekend. Witches, wizards, zombies, devils and even cute fairies enjoyed a howling good time at the many activities held at several locations around San Pedro Town.  

    On Friday afternoon, the Beginners class of San Pedro Roman Catholic School took to the streets of San Pedro in very creative costumes visiting residences and businesses asking the question "trick or treat"? Later in the evening, Barbara's Dance Group held a Halloween Fair at Central Park. While the dancers entertained the gathering, brave souls enjoyed the haunted castle and other amusing activities.

    ABC Pre-School also held its Annual Halloween Bazaar that same night at the Esmeralda Park. The children enjoyed scaring each other and entertained themselves with games such as fishpond and tombola. Prizes were awarded to the following children in disguise: Most Creative - Scarecrow - Ezra Jacobs; Scariest - The Glowing Skeleton - Anthony Rivero; Funniest - Scream - Flavio Vasquez; Most Elegant - The Mystical Spider Web - Alejandra Gomez; Judges' Favorites: The Witch - Stacey Rodriguez, The Nun - Alexis Williams and The Princess - Kaira Vasquez.    

Trick or treaters bag a mermaid

   Not even ghastly weather could keep the creatures of the night away from Holiday Hotel's Halloween Festival last Saturday. Donning their most grisly and gruesome guises, specters and spirits of the dark provided much entertainment during the night. Winning the Grand Prize for Most Creative, a roundtrip for two to the US sponsored by Continental Airlines, was Esneda Warner bedecked in a most stylish coffin, accompanied by her own frightening pall bearers. Other prizes were given as follows: Scariest - Patty Lopez (Werewolf), Elegant - Candice Usher (French Maid), Funniest - Jorge Torres (Baby Piggyback), Group - Aaron Hildred, Mike Crockart and Dan Stuart (Chippendales), Judges' Favorite - Glen Schwendinger (Undietaker) and Manager's Choice - Dulce Wolfe (Llorona).

    On Sunday, October 27th, the San Pedro Roman Catholic School hosted a Grand Halloween Bash. The fair was a great success with lots of games, food and drinks galore. A costume competition was held, as well as the selection of Miss Halloween 2002-2003. Winning the prize for the Most Original costume was JoVan Ayuso as Dr. Brain; the Cutest prize was awarded to Joswannie and Stacey Rodriguez as the Twin Witches; the Most Scariest prize was won by Diovan Sanchez as the Pitch Fork Devil; the Most Elegant prize went to Joanna Lisbey as the Vampiress; the Prettiest costume went to Elina Gomez as the Garden Fairy; and the Most Funniest was awarded to Sheila Orosco.

    The Miss Halloween popularity contest was highly contested with ten students working hard to gain the most points. It was a close race but at the end of the evening the following contestants emerged victorious. In the Infant Division, Cynthia Xiu won with points worth $1,562.36. In the Middle Division, Angelina Guerrero won with points worth $1,654.25 and in the Upper Division, Robin Gillett won with points worth $1,142.66. All the proceeds from this year's Halloween Bash will be used to complete the school's fence, replace dilapidated doors and windows, and to acquire additional furniture for the classrooms. Happy Halloween!
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