19th century mourning rituals examined at Heritage Square Museum

These days, Halloween is a season, and most people who’ve lost loved ones don’t display outward signs of their sorrow for extended periods of time. In the 19th century, the reverse was true – Halloween occupied one day on the calendar, but public grieving could continue for a year or longer. An event this weekend offers glimpses into old-time mourning rituals.

It’s taking place at Heritage Square, a cluster of restored Victorian-era buildings in Highland Park off the 110 Freeway. Through the weekend, tour guides in period costumes will demonstrate and explain the customs and etiquette that accompanied death during the 19th century.

Saturday's activities include re-creations of spiritualist seances in which the living sought to communicate with the departed, and old-fashioned observances of the Mexican Day of the Dead. Spooky storytellers, children’s games, and a pumpkin patch will take center stage on Sunday, along with horror movie screenings after dusk.

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