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Finding Halloween Spirit at the Happiest Place on Earth [Gal About Town: Fashion and Travel at Your Fingertips]

I’ve been having a hard time getting in the Halloween Spirit over the last few years, as you may have read. The idea of getting into costume seemed more like an unappealing hassle instead of something fun to do for one night a year. But having a husband whose favorite holiday is Halloween, I had to put my All Hallows Eve annoyance aside, and help him celebrate his favorite time of year.

For weeks, my husband had been looking into “fun” things to do for Halloween week. Yes, a whole week of Halloween activities. You can guess my, um, enthusiasm. Our plans for the holiday slowly came together, yet our “couples costume” was still non-existent. We had parties to go to, friends to meet up with, and even tickets to Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland, but I was still completely uninspired. Then one evening, two nights before our first Halloween outing, we decided to put the movie Up! on. It’s one of our favorite movies and we can never get through the first ten minutes without crying. It even inspired us to start our own “Paradise Falls” travel fund.

And it hit me, we were going to Disneyland as part of our Halloween extravaganza, we might as well go as Disney characters! Carl and Ellie were two characters we could easily relate to, and the clothing they wore when they first met was both iconic AND easy to acquire! We already owned a few of the items, and the rest only took a trip to the thrift store and a Halloween shop. And what is more comfortable to wear than a pair of overalls?!

I was actually excited again to get in costume. And once it all came together, it was pretty darn adorable. So, now that I was cool with a costume, how was the rest of Halloween going to go? Would I enjoy myself, or just be annoyed the whole time?

We arrived at Disneyland on Monday afternoon. Tickets to Mickey’s Halloween Party allow you to get into the park at 3:00pm, then at 6:00pm they close off the park to the general crowd, and only Party-goers get to stay. As soon as we walked through the ticket gates, a Disney “Cast Member” shouted out to us the Up! motto, “Adventure is out there!” I knew we had picked the right costumes, and I had a feeling it was going to be a great night.

One of the best things about Mickey’s Halloween Party is that, since the park is only open to party-goers, the lines are much shorter. The longest line we waited in was for the Haunted House, and that was about 25 minutes. Most other rides had only a five minute wait, if any at all. The line for Space Mountain was estimated at 45 minutes, but it ended up only being slightly over 20 minutes.

During our trip on Space Mountain the ride broke down right as we were in the middle of it. Immediately my mind went to the horror story of my dad being stuck on the “It’s A Small World” ride for hours while the song played nonstop. Luckily, our break down did not turn into a nightmare. The music stopped, as did the projections, and all the safety lights came on. We actually had the rare chance to see just how the ride was made. It was awesome. It only took 5 minutes for the ride to be fixed, and they let us stay in our cars and ride through it all over again. It was thrilling.

As we walked throughout the park, we enjoyed seeing Disneyland decorated for Halloween. We had visited Disneyland before over Christmas time, and were impressed with the decorations, and again, they were just as creative with Halloween. Fun pumpkins, fog, spooky lighting and more definitely helped get one into the spirit.

As we waded through a sea of miniature princesses and Avengers, we also found that Disney had a plethora of Trick or Treat stations for little (and big) kids to get Halloween candy.  While candy was not a priority of mine, my husband is not one to turn down free sweets, so as we went from ride to ride, we stopped at the treat stations along the way and soon our trick or treat bags were filled to the brim. We overheard one mom exclaim, “We have so much candy, I don’t need to go to the store now! I’ll be giving all this out on Halloween!” The treats ranged from healthy sliced apples, carrots, and craisins, to the sinfully sweet Snickers, M&Ms, Kit-Kats and Reese’s cups. JP was in chocolate heaven, and definitely had a sugar buzz going on.

At 9:30 everyone gathered around Sleeping Beauty’s Castle for the fireworks display. I had been counting on a short, non-dazzling, cheap display. The fireworks show lasted for 20 minutes, and featured little vignettes from Disney’s top villains. Even the fireworks were color-coordinated to some of the villains, with Malifecent’s fireworks being green and purple. They were beautiful. Kids and adults alike were cheering at the beautiful show! Being from Pittsburgh, the US capitol of fireworks, I’m highly judgmental of firework displays, and this one was spectacular. It was definitely worth the time, and money. It was Disney magic.

Everything that night, from the rides, decoration, costumes galore, and fireworks made my Halloween spirit grow until I was exploding with happiness. It was an amazing day, that I am hoping to turn into tradition.

On the down side of things, in full disclosure, not all of the rides and areas are open to the public during the party. Also many of the restaurants and shops close at 6pm, leaving very few food options when you get hungry at 10:30 pm and the candy no longer cuts it. The rides close at 11:00pm, but they take their time kicking you out so that you can slowly meander through their stores and spend lots of money. And lastly, as cute as the kids are at 3:00 in the afternoon, come midnight they start to have a sugar crash, and their parents look like they need an entire bottle of wine to calm the nerves. But being that JP and I were only responsible to each other, we were still in the glow of Mickey’s Halloween Party. Disney magic IS real!

If you live anywhere near a Disney Park, or love Halloween enough to travel to one, I have to recommend that you take the time to go to their Halloween Party. If it could get this Grinch of a costume designer to enjoy the spookiest time of the year again, I bet it could it will awaken your spirit as well!

Now Boldly Go!

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