Halloween 2012 on Pacific Ave. in Santa Cruz

On October 31, 2012, thousands of people turned out for the annual Halloween celebration on Pacific Avenue in downtown Santa Cruz, California. The sheer number of people forces the city’s hand, and Pacific Ave is closed off to motor vehicles during the unsanctioned gathering. Fences, lights, police, private security, porta potties and people fill the streets for Halloween revelry, which seems to be influenced by the creative Burning Man Festival in Black Rock City, Nevada.

According to many scholars, Halloween was originally influenced by western European harvest festivals and festivals of the dead with possible pagan roots, particularly the Celtic Samhain. Others maintain that it originated independently of Samhain and has Christian roots.