This year’s Halloween scene at Main Street’s Trunk or Treat and the Oxbow Saloon’s haunted house featured parents with children, excited teenagers, and even grandparents in costume.
Disc Jockey DJ Craig set the mood with scary music and famous tunes by several past artists.
This year’s haunted house theme of was “Psychotic Hospital,” with spine-tingling performances by members of Payson High School’s drama department. The overall scene was put together by the Town of Payson and the drama students who took shuddering visitors inside an insane asylum run by the inmates.
The varied scenes each played to the limit of scariness of the different age groups brave enough to explore their willingness to be frightened.
In towns and cities across the nation, trunk or treat has evolved into a safe, somewhat scary occasion to celebrate a traditional rite of fall — Halloween. Though the origin of the word Halloween is Christian, the holiday is commonly thought to have pagan roots.
Historian Nicholas Rogers, exploring the origins of Halloween, notes that while “some folklorists have detected its origins in the Roman feast of Pomona, the goddess of fruits and seeds, it is more typically linked to the Celtic festival of Samhain,” which comes from the Old Irish for “summer’s end.” Samhain (pronounced sah-win or sow-in) was the first and most important of the four quarter days in the medieval calendar, held around Oct. 31 to Nov. 1. Kindred festivals were held at the same time of year in other Celtic lands.
The scene on Wednesday had more of a family than pagan feel. Parents with kids in tow lined up to move from one candy station to the next. The gathering provided a way for people to mingle and dabble with the trick or treat experience, without long walks through dark neighborhoods.