Renting a Car in Florida
Soft Landings
Big Ben Tolls For Thee
Big Doings in Little Rock
Journo Links
St. Martin  Caribbean
Travelet's usa Nitebook
Great Scottsdale
The Gilroy Garlic Festival
ChicagoA world
Tunica Mississippi


    So Shivery Delicious: Halloween Parades      It will be a long Halloween season this year. It is time to make fiendish plans. 

            For soon it will be time to switch off the Box That Glows    Softly in the Dark, step back out into the world and find a spot   where it is O.K. to moan, holler, laugh like a hyena, slink like   a mummy, shuffle like a zombie, gawp and point rudely at passers-  by, dragging the little monsters by their sticky claws so that   they, too, can scream it all out before the Bush twins make the cover of People again 

            Better to find a big, BIG party now, and paint the town orange. 

            It is definitely worth making a trip to savour Halloween at its very best. But the ancient Feast of Samhain comes in many   flavours. Will you choose fizz, fun and frolic, mordant social   satire, hours of mindless fun for all the family, or a profound   emotional epiphany?   

            The four Halloween parades profiled here all welcome kids.  All are safe and attract surprisingly little crime. And you can   dress in costume and walk in the parade or watch from the   sidelines in your civvies. But there all similarities end.


Delirious Dreams and Hilarious Screams
October 22-31,
2004 in Key West

            Key West, a town that soaks in sun and a ridiculously sultry,   sulky beauty, puts on a Halloween parade prettier than any in all   the world. It is the little island's reply, in advance, to New   Orleans' Mardi Gras; as with Mardi Gras, you can go to Key West way before the day of the big parade and find the party has   already begun. There's a week-long open haunted house, yacht race pet masquerade where you dress to match your   critter friend, a mask and costume-making class,  costume competitions, balls, toga parties, beach concerts, and  cook-outs. (A fat full moon on 21 October lights it nicely!) The Twilight Fantasy Parade at sunset, is merely the "Conch Republic's" gaudy climax.               

             Expect to see a lot of twenty foot high Rio/Vegas style feathery showgirl costumes,   sequins, spangles, chiffon and satin. You might see the Key West   Southernmost Point buoy waddling down Duval, "90 Miles to Cuba"   painted on her pumpkinesque belly, walking hand in hand with   Fidel Castro. And beware of two-headed alligators, block-long,   fire-breathing serpents and the sickly, lethal Rumrunners poured  cool in darkened bars. Music is mostly tropical---Carribbean   steel pans and reggae---and there's also the Key West High School   marching band. Cuban dance troops will lead you right past the   good old El Cacique restaurant at 125 Duval Street, favoured by   locals for superior Cuban food and exotic shakes made with any  fruit from Banana, Sapodilla, Mamey, Guanabana, to Zapote.   

            And you can always fall upon on the usual island delights:   short cruises on the Gulf of Mexico, the homes of Tennessee   Williams and Ernest Hemingway, Mel Fisher's Museum, exquisite   restaurants, heartbreaking sunsets, the clean, sweet bright air,   and the opportunity to fend off unfamiliar feelings of lassitude   and bien-etre with rigourous strolls past pretty churches and   lacy Conch houses, dark bars and front yards overflowing with   lilacs and brilliant hibiscus.

            Key West always plans a Recovery Day, with Children's Day activities at Bay View Park.  

            But if you're coming to Fantasy Fest, book early, as the   tiny town (it's only 2 miles by 4 miles big) "almost tips a   little" when probably 50,000 people will show up all at once. 

    KEY WEST  WHAT  Captain Morgan Fantasy Fest Parade
WHERE Just go to the "Old Town"section or Duval Street in plenty of time before sunset. If you're staying at a hotel with a   balcony along Duval Street, you're sitting pretty.  WHEN 30 October at twilight   HOW   Come as you are, or wear a costume and join the parade  FOR FURTHER INFORMATION  on transportation, hotels, etc, call  1-800-FLA-KEYS in the USA. In Canada, call 1-800-GO-TO-KEYS.  Elsewhere, call 1-305-296-2228.
Cheap and Cheerful:   
The Southern Cross  326 Duval St. 1-800-533-4891                                                or 1-305-294-3200  
Days Inn and Lodge 3852 N. Roosevelt Blvd. 1-800-325-2525 and   1-305-294-3742 

Casa Marina Marriott Resort 1500 Reynolds  St.    1-800-872-9563      and 1-305-296-3535   
Very Nice:
 Pier House 1 Duval St. 305-296-4600 or 1-800-327-8340   
Ocean Key House 0 Duval St, 305-296-7701, or 1-800-328-9815

P.S.: 2005 Fantasy Fest will be 
              October 21-October 30 2005

For all the details, click here



Ghostly Gotham  
New York's Village Annual Halloween Parade 

            "Every day is Halloween in New York," the saying goes.   So it figures that the world's wittiest Halloween parade will draw nearly one million people this year. Arrive early to get a  good spot, well before 6.30 pm. The parade's at seven. The   parade route keeps expanding uptown from Greenwich Village in   order to accomodate the crowds; you'll get the best view if you   stand along Sixth Avenue (known only to tourists as Avenue of the   Americas) between 14th and 21st streets.  

            You will see "celebrities": "Barbara Bush" in pearls and   stretch limo, flanked by "Secret Service" men, carrying her   broccoli bouquet, going walkabout to work the cheering crowds. In previous years you might have seen John Sununu, a pregnant Bruce with   a pregnant Demi, a billion Saddam Husseins and a trillion Pee Wee   Hermans. This year, expect to see gazillion Princess Dianas   tearing their hair out, unrepentant Fergies, furious Queens,   (many, many Queens), every political candidate imaginable, and   lotsa John Gottis. Real celebrities conceal themselves in   costumes on this egalitarian evening, when all creatures,   especially the unloved and the unlovely, get to be the stars.   

            Then there are the six steel bands (48 different bands in   all), hired comedians telling jokes along the parade route, 100   huge puppets, at least 40 bejewelled dragons, and a special   environmental extravaganza with the Bread and Puppet Theatre,   funded by a recent NEA grant, yet.

            But the most awesome eye-food here will be the "group   costumes", where people club together to create zany, unsettling   tableaux. Look! There's a six-pack of Bud, with the plastic rings   around each "can" to keep the group together...a loaf of Wonder   Bread, slices solemnly marching in tight formation...inept scud   missiles, always missing their sidestepping targets...the Revenge   of the Fuzzy Dice, furiously attacking a car...Imelda Marcos'   shoes, 101 Dalmatians, an entire chess set, 52 self-shuffling   cards, Three Blind Dice, and that socko favourite, the New York   Skyline. One year, as the Twin Towers, Empire State Building and   a stunningly beautiful Chrysler Building strolled by, I heard two   visiting Russian officials behind me gasp. "This democracy is   really something," one mumbled, shaking his head.  

            Creeping back to your crypt straight after such lurid   foolishness would be ghastly indeed: call Roseland if you wish  to sneak uptown to do the dance macabre (proceeds benefit the   environment, 212-247-0200). Or snake back down into the nooks and   crannies of Greenwich Village where you may run into thirteen   Princess Dianas looking for a jazz joint after a   scrumptididdlious din-din.   
New York's Village Annual Halloween Parade
  30th Anniversary!
WHEN  7 p.m. Sunday October31st 2004
WHERE Starts near Bleecker St. and goes up Sixth Ave. to 23rd St.     Click here

And elsewhere

Chicago is celebrating Halloween with tricks and treats. The Navy Pier is home to the  “Navy Fear & Fun Fest” (October 3-November 2) with haunted house and trick-or-treating. A special CTA train, “The Haunted ‘L” is on the rails October 9–30. It wears its costume of Halloween decorations. Riders get to hear ghost stories from Chicago’s history. The Haunted Village at Pumpkin Plaza located at Daley Plaza, October 10 – 31. offers performances by Midnight Circus, pumpkin decorating and ghostly tales. On 18 October, there’s the Field Museum’s Harvest Festival (18 October) with  workshops and live performances; and the State Street Halloween Happenings Children’s Costume Parade. And in Washington Park, October 31, The Fall Festival and Pumpkin Patch at will be a Halloween center with fun, treats, and games.


Traveler's USA Notebook home