My family--the larger, more extended one, especially my mother's side--doesn't do much for holidays. We get together. We eat. If there are gifts to be exchanged, we do so, money allowing.
But Halloween is an exception. Starting when I was in high school or maybe early college, we started having a Haunted Trail each year in the woods my grandfather bought back in the day. How elaborate it is depends on the time and energy my uncles and cousins have one any given year, but it's always worth seeing. I have some very creative family and friends of family.
I enjoy professional haunted houses and trails, too, but the one my family does is special, of course. Some highlights of past Haunted Trails:
- Hell: There's generally a table where someone is playing poker in hell. Who it is varies according to what's going on in the world at the time. I still remember the Saddam Hussein one. Elvis is a frequent guest, too, probably more because we're fond of Elvis than that we think he belongs in Hell
- Gilly Monster: one year, one of my uncles made a gilly monster costume by sewing leaves and
- Scarecrow Forest: I have one famously skinny uncle, Traditionally, he's hidden among a line of stuffed scarecrows. No matter how hard I try, I can never figure out which one he is until he moves. Yikes!
- Bright Side: One year, "crucifixes" were built along one ridge, with little ledges to stand on. This came about because of a family-wide love of Monty Python, and was the site of a famous singalong.
- Zombie Pit: a trench covered with wood slats to look like graves. Costumed friends or family pop up creepy hands or sometimes even fully costumed zombies rise up. Always very spooky!
It's not every year anymore. But it's always worth it to me to make trip back home and get my pants scared off with friends and family.