Any kid who likes candy likes Halloween. The costumes are fun, but let’s be real—kids love trick-or-treating, then dumping out their loot at the end of the night and sorting it into piles of “good” (Kit-Kats, Twix, Skittles, Reese’s, Heath Bars) “bad” (those orange and black candies that stick to your teeth) and “everything else.” When I take my kids trick-or-treating, it brings back great childhood memories of the excited anticipation of getting ready on October 31, then going house to house on crisp falls nights, my mom or dad waiting patiently on the street as my brother and I knocked on doors and rang doorbells—sometimes the only time all year that we really talked to our neighbors (secretly hoping they’d give us an extra piece of candy).
I’m pretty sure all that sugar has something to do with my Halloween obsession, but I also love Halloween for the theatrical aspect (how often are you encouraged to be someone you’re normally not? It’s a wonderful escape from reality) and the fact that it’s the one time of year when it’s actually kinda fun to be scared.
When I say scared, I’m not talking about the prefabricated “haunted houses” like the one at the State Fair—with dramatic werewolves and zombies and deranged insane asylum patients all popping out at you from long, dark hallways. After awhile, all you really want to do is get out of there, before you go deaf from the teenage girls’ screaming (while trying really hard not to bump too much into the person in front of you). The haunted hayrides and corn mazes are a little more spooky, but can also be over-the-top (and cold!).
Going to an architecturally beautiful castle-like building—one that has a storied past as the Federal Courthouse “back in the day”—and listening to costumed characters personifying “Ma” Barker, Alvin “Creepy” Karpis, and John Dillinger (among others) telling true stories of crime and punishment from the gangster era of the 1920s and 30s—sounds right up my alley. No blood, no gore, no deranged clown chasing me with a rubber knife? The ambiance, the characters, the stories—that actually happened to real people in the same space you’re walking through—is far more spooky to me. Oh yeah, and don’t forget the rumor (or is it fact? Depends on who you ask) that the Landmark Center is also haunted.
The Landmark Center’s Gangster Ghost Tour will be held this year on October 24 from 6-9 p.m.
The tour costs $5 per person and isn’t recommended for kids younger than 8. Reservations are required. Purchase tickets by calling 651-292-3276.
If you’re looking for a family-friendly event to bring your little superheroes and princesses, the Great Pumpkin Festival is a lot of fun (and free!). The festival will be held at the Landmark Center from 1-3 p.m. on Sunday, October 27 and include a costume fashion show, face painting, arts and crafts projects, and candy and treats.
The Great Pumpkin Festival
Landmark Center is located at 75 West 5th St., facing Rice Park, next to the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts and The Saint Paul Hotel. Its accessible to those with impaired mobility, although visitors are encouraged to call ahead with any special needs requests. For more information, call 651-292-3276.