If you visit Lahaina in October, you may see pirates, ghosts, or other supernatural beings, but not because it’s haunted. It’s thanks to one of the largest Halloween celebrations in Hawaii, and on All Hallows Eve, costumed revelers take to Front Street to enjoy the night.
In the past, parades and costumes were the order of the night. It all began in the 1980s as an impromptu gathering and grew in sizes each year, involving the local merchants and spreading fun and cheer. 2008 was the first year that the parades and sanctioned costume contests weren’t held, though the Keiki Costume Parade marched through the town. The Maui County Cultural Resources Committee decided on “trick” rather than “treat” and cut back on the festivities to curb lewd behavior that didn’t preserve the town’s historical roots.
However, it’s hard to curb the Aloha spirit, and while there were no “official” events like bands or contests, the people honored the image of Lahaina as a centuries-old gathering place and celebrated anyway. There were still pirates and ghosts – and even the occasional superhero – hoping that they may convince the committee to change their minds.
Sanctioned or not, Halloween in Lahaina is a big deal, and big fun. The revelry begins in the afternoon, with the Keiki Costume Parade at 4:30. Then, the Mardi-Gras like “party” begins. Onlookers can grab a seat at one of the waterfront bars and vote for their favorite costumes by tossing beads.
In the past, there have been upwards of 20,000-30,000 Halloween-goers in Lahaina, and while 2008 was a little more subdued, the night wasn’t lacking for people and celebration.