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Trick or Treat … or Travel

It’s sweet to celebrate Halloween at sea

The Monthly Mantra

Halloween, Ahoy! … Halloween, Ahoy! … Halloween, Ahoy!

I just finished the final Twix in the massive bag of assorted Halloween candy I bought — obviously, a bit too early — for my trick-or-treaters. I finished the Twizzlers yesterday, so if the kids don’t like Three Musketeers or Butterfingers, I’m really screwed.

There’s something a bit disturbing about Halloween. I’m not fond of kids coming to my home and shaking me down for anything — even if it’s a five-year-old dressed like a giant strawberry, looking only for a candy bar. Once the sun goes down, the cute little ones are replaced by people of all ages and sizes, so opening the door to a blood-splattered zombie, an alien, or a laser-gun-toting intergalactic warrior is even more unsettling.

For a frightfully good time, I prefer to get away from the doorbell and celebrate Halloween at sea! For one thing, there’s no question that the food will go far beyond Jell-O molds that look like brains, olives carved to resemble eyeballs, and chocolate spiders — and, for another, you can dress up! It’s not even necessary to squeeze a full costume into your luggage: sport a pair of fangs, don green face paint or wrap your head in a red-food coloring–soaked bandage and you’re good to go.

RELATED: Haunted Hotels in Paranormal Ports of Call

A Carnival Halloween | Photo: Rada Ursu/Carnival Cruise Line

A Carnival Halloween | Photo: Rada Ursu / Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival Cruise Line dives in, hook, line, and sinker, with a month-long line up of spine-tingling Halloween activities for both kids and adults: A pumpkin-patch deck party, costume crawls and contests and, my personal favorite, a Scary Chest Competition. Kids can even trick-or-treat on board … which makes me wonder if Carnival provides the candy or if I’m supposed to hand them a bottle of beer from my mini bar.

Disney Cruise Line begins its Halloween spook-tacular in September with Mickey’s Mouse-querade costume party, a magical pumpkin tree, haunted stories of the sea under the night sky, and a Nightmare Before Christmas Sing and Scream. And while that last one sounds like my definition of “horror,” guests can expect lots of candy, costumes, and fun.

Most cruise lines scare up their own brand of Halloween celebrations with ghoulish decorations and startling surprises. Royal Caribbean constructs a haunted mansion aboard some sailings and holds “howl at the moon” and “girl scream” competitions, while Norwegian celebrates with hair-raising movies, candy stations throughout the ship, and a Fright Night for adults.

But cruise guests seeking the ghostly and ghastly can have blood-curdling fun any time of year! If that’s your thing, you can investigate ghost tours in port cities like London, Savannah, Quebec City, and New York. Fans of The Walking Dead might book The Walker Stalker Cruise aboard Norwegian Pearl (February 21-25) — but do it NOW — it sells out quickly! And, for a dose of chilling reality, plan a visit to the notorious Angola Prison during a cruise up the Mississippi River aboard American Queen Steamship Company’s American Queen.

Happy Halloween, no matter where you’re celebrating!

— Judi Cuervo


Main Photo: Norwegian Cruise Line

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