Halloween Traditions Around the World

When most Americans think of Halloween, we think of candy corn, costumed kids, Trick or Treating and haunted houses. But according to History.com there is a much more macabre, true story of Halloween. So on this festive Halloween week, I thought I’d share some of the history and some of the more interesting Halloween traditions from around the world and of course. And…of course a nod to Halloween Westlake Village residents and surrounding communities! We do Halloween in our own inimitable style!

Says the History channel, Halloween dates back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain where:

People would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off roaming ghosts. In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as a time to honor all saints and martyrs; the holiday, All Saints’ Day, incorporated some of the traditions of Samhain. The evening before was known as All Hallows’ Eve and later Halloween.

Over time, Halloween has obviously evolved—at least in America— into a candy and fun holiday rather than a sacred religious ritual.

But did you know in some parts of the world it is just as popular.

Día de los Muertos – Mexico

In Mexico and other Latin American countries, Día de los Muertos-Day of the Dead, honors deceased loved ones and ancestors. Their Halloween is really more rooted in the original religious roots. Celebrated over three days from Oct. 31st-Nov. 2 nd, its most popular in Mexico, and according to Wikipedia:

Traditions connected with the holiday include building private altars called ofrendas , honoring the deceased using sugar skulls , marigolds , and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed, and visiting graves with these as gifts. They also leave possessions of the deceased.

Teng Chieh – China

The Halloween-equivalent holiday in China is known as Teng Chieh. The Chinese tradition is to place food and water at the foot of photographs of deceased family members and light bonfires and lanterns in order to forge a lit path for the spirits to travel on Earth on Halloween night. An article on Inspirationline, describes one tradition of Buddhist followers in China. They make “boats of the law” from paper and light them on fire. Some of the “boats” are quite elaborate and burn for hours. This particular ritual is a memorial of course to honor the dead, but more importantly is meant to free spirits of the “pretas” in order that they might ascend to heaven. According to The New World Encyclopedia, “Pretas” are “hungry ghosts” but not evil. They are simply the spirits of those who have died tragically and without a proper burial ceremony. Ceremonies for the “pretas,” include lighting fires and lantern rituals and often monks are invited to recite sacred verses and leave fruit offerings.

Westlake Village – A Rockin’ Halloween!

And of course the best Halloween traditions are happening right here in good old Westlake Village! We may not have burning paper boats, but we do have really scary haunted houses a really good time. Take a look at a couple of the goings-on happening this weekend for both adults and children:

A Freak Show

Bogie’s Nightclub at The Westlake Village Inn is sponsoring, its 4 th Annual Halloween Bash FREAKSHOW WEDDING, on Saturday November 1st. Call to reserve your tickets for party complete with music and a DJ! Reserve now – it sells out!

Bogie’s Nightclub

32001 Agoura Rd

Westlake Village, California

(818) 889-2394

Be afraid! Be Very Afraid!

Reign of Terror Haunted House

The Haunted House at the Janss Marketplace promises an unparalleled Reign of Terror with over 65 bone chilling rooms and 12,000 sq. ft. of mayhem!

This is one of the country’s top-ranked scare zones and it’s right here! Reign of Terror attracts thousands of thrill seekers each Halloween season to raise much-needed money for the Thousand Oaks Teen Center and Young Artists Ensemble programs. Read more here.

Want to experience all the greatness that is Westlake Village? Thinking of investing or buying a home in the area, choose the top ranked Westlake Village Realtor. Live in luxury, inspired by the beauty of nature and a 365 day temperate climate. Live like you are on vacation every day! Choose Lydia Gable as your real estate agent on your next dream home purchase. For more on homes in Lake Sherwood, Hidden Hills or anywhere in the Conejo Valley, contact Lydia Gable today.

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Spotlight: Celeb Enclave Hidden Hills and More…

Back in 2013, I wrote two very popular articles, the first being Celeb Homes: Calabasas, Lake Sherwood…and the other, Buying a Home: Spotlight on Lake Sherwood . Over a year later, I thought it would be great to revisit the topic in some of my other neighborhoods. While it’s not the most important reason, if a reason at all, it’s a fun topic and it does speak to the value of the real estate in the area. So in my 2014 follow up, I will spotlight Hidden Hills and even give an alternative.

Selena Finds Shelter in Hidden Hills

Selena Gomez just sold her Tarzana home to move into a new palace which boasts 5 Beds/6 Baths on 7,229 sq ft. on a total lot size of 3.15 acres. It was built in 2004 and sits in a gated community literally next door to Hidden Hills.

Hidden Hills is a community that sits hidden between Los Angeles and Ventura Counties. The area is quite affluent and bustles with celebrities, families and film industry folks. As it says on the city’s website:

The City of Hidden Hills is nestled between the western foothills of the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles County and the Ventura County line, California. It boasts an authentic bucolic atmosphere as witnessed by the absence of sidewalks and street lights, the white three-rail fences, and bridle trails…an example of small town Southern California living at its finest.

If you would like more information on home listings in Hidden Hills or the surrounding areas, contact me today.

A ‘Bubbly’ Move

In September 2-time Grammy winner, singer-songwriter, Colbie Caillat, bought a new mansion in Hidden Hills for $6.1 million. According to Los Angeles Times:

Her new 8,400-square-foot place is a Santa Barbara-inspired Mediterranean on more than an acre. Accessed through a gated courtyard entry, the mostly single-story home features a great room, a center-island kitchen, a game room with a wet bar, a home theater, six en suite bedrooms and two additional bathrooms.

A Gated Alternative to the ‘Hills’

If you want the Hidden Hills experience – the gated community option, country club environment but in some cases with lower (still luxury) listing prices, visit Lake Sherwood. Lake Sherwood offers the same affluent feel, many celeb neighbors, great night life, restaurants and shopping, and as a bonus only 20 minutes from Hidden Hills and 30 minutes to Los Angeles. If you work in Los Angeles, this is a perfect choice. Famous present and/or former residents include Britney Spears Wayne Gretsky and the aforementioned Colbie Caillat. A recent Variety article describing the KimYe mansion, shines a spotlight on just how many celebs actually live here. The reporter describes Hidden Hills as…

… a much touted, well-groomed and exceedingly affluent enclave long favored by the rich and/or famous. Should they choose, Mister and Missus Kardashian can invite neighbors who Jennifer Lopez, Drake, Leann Rimes and Eddie Cibrian, Nicolette Sheridan, and Jessica Simpson to their housewarming party.

Thinking of investing or buying a home in Lake Sherwood, choose the top ranked Westlake Village Realtor. Live like you are on vacation 365 days a year! Choose Lydia Gable as your real estate agent on your next dream home purchase. For more on homes in Lake Sherwood, Hidden Hills or anywhere in the Conejo Valley, contact Lydia Gable today.

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New Season, New Westlake Village Fall Activities

Westlake Village: A Lovely Place to Work, Live and Visit…

As we usher in the cooler fall season, enjoy the benefits of living in Westlake Village and all that it offers for its residents!

For those of you fortunate enough to live in the Westlake Village area, you probably already know that fall is a time filled with numerous exciting activities for its residents. But for those in the surrounding communities who may be considering a change in venue to match the change in season, here are some of my favorite seasonal local events. For future residents and eager visitors, take a look at what you get to look forward to as part of our community!

  1. The City That Celebrates Together
    City of Westlake Village’s 12th Annual City Celebration

It’s that time of year again, where we celebrate and feature the best that our community has to offer on Saturday, October 18th, 2014.

This is truly a must-attend for residents. I can say with surety as I have memories from the previous eleven that pleasantly linger with me. I was involved in planning the first City Celebration when my kids were at White Oak.

Think of getting to see and do everything “great” that makes up our community in one place and time and you get the picture! With exciting performances, food trucks, special events, and the ever popular Fun Fair from our very own White Oak Elementary School, this event offers fun for residents of all ages. Additional information is available at City of Westlake Village.

  1. What’s Fall without Halloween Goblins
    The Triunfo Y Goblin Gallop 5k Run

The Triunfo Y Goblin Gallop, part of the annual City Celebration, is a Halloween-themed twilight run on October 18th featuring a costume contest that includes a 5K Run followed by a 1-mile Trick or Treat Fun Run. Goblin Gallop runners are encouraged to run/walk wearing their favorite costume. Prizes will be awarded to the best costumes seen on the course. For those of you with little ones, kids who take part in the 1-mile Trick or Treat Fun Run will be able to enjoy numerous Trick or Treat stations along the course – an event the whole family can enjoy together!

Event proceeds will help support the Triunfo Y Teen and Family Programs.

The night starts at 5:30PM at the Westlake Village Civic Center, 31200 Oak Crest Drive. For more info go to Triunfo 5k Run.

  1. Oktoberfest
    Second Annual Oktoberfest at Stonehaus

The Stonehaus, a boutique enoteca reminiscent of Italy, and the newest addition to the Westlake Village Inn, will be celebrating their second annual Oktoberfest Oct 17th-19th. Although Stonehaus is the newest addition to the Westlake Village Inn, Oktoberfest itself is rich in tradition dating back nearly two-hundred years in Munich, Germany.

Although this event may be relatively new to our community, don’t mistake its lack of tenor for a lack of quality. With great food, beer, and live music over the course of three days, Stonehaus does right by Oktoberfest lofty historical standards – a must-attend for residents over twenty-one.

Friday October 17th 4PM-10PM
Saturday October 18th 1PM -10PM
Sunday October 19th Noon – 8PM
Live music every night at 7PM

For more information visit: Stonehaus

  1. A Halloween ‘Treat’

Also for a ‘treat’ Three Springs in Westlake Village is definitely a destination for Trick or Treating and the neighborhood is already decorating and preparing for the annual festivities.

An award-winning Realtor®, Lydia Gable is known for paying special attention to meticulous communication with her clients throughout the buying or selling process. Lydia Gable lives andworks in the community. If you have any questions related to this topic or if you are interested in buying or selling a home in and around Westlake Village, contact Lydia Gable today for an appointment.

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“Do-It” Upgrades to Sell Your Home

Is your home stuck in the 70s but you want it to sell well in 2014? If you are ready to sell your home now and feel the need for upgrade projects to increase the chances of listing success, there aresome ideas that are more worthy than others. A word of advice before you start: Take into account long-term projects v. short term ones – in other words some larger projects can turn into behemoth jobs that will actually delay the home listing. So plan accordingly. Also some projects just don’t pan out when it comes to investment v. selling price. Below are the top must-do projects that can increase your home sale price and add to the beauty and appeal of your home when showing.

  1. Upgrade Your Kitchen: One Piece at a Time

Most homeowners think they have to undergo a complete kitchen renovation, to modernize a very outdated kitchen tile or linoleum. But it can really be as simple as painting the kitchen cabinets or changing the counter tops to granite. A recent article on Yahoo Homes titled,Selling your home? Three projects you should and shouldn’t tackle, quotes Erica Lugbill, the owner and lead designer of Lugbill Designs, a Chicago-based residential design firm. Erica recommends some easy tips that can be done on a budget:

Focus on small “face-lift” projects, such as painting your cabinets, switching out your hardware, installing a tile backsplash, or replacing the countertops…You can go to a stone remnant yard where there is often a large selection of discount pieces of granite or quartz that can be installed for a fraction of the cost.

  1. Up on the Roof

If you can potential buyers can see the roof of the home when they drive up and your roof is currently shabby, it may be time to make some repairs to move from shabby to chic. You’d be surprised what a beautiful roof can do when it comes to curb appeal. If there are fix-it issues like leaks or damage, definitely fix these as it will be more than an eye-sore issue but one of home inspection and could derail the sale. But beyond the practical elements, a cosmetic upgrade—which is actually a low cost remodel—will do wonders for your home sale.

  1. A Bathroom Redo: Don’t Flush Away Your Money

Instead of redoing an entire bathroom, knobs, cabinets or even a pedestal sink can make a big difference. If your bathroom tile is atrocious, you may need to replace it but if you do this, keep it neutral. The potential buyer will have his or her own taste anyway and may decide to renovate in which case you will have wasted an investment. Better to go for a repaint or vanity replacement to make some subtle changes but save money.

Upgrade Don’ts…

Try to avoid larger-scale projects – the kind that start out with good intentions but can turn into giant month-long overhauls. Room additions, master bedroom renovations and sun deck add-ons are probably not worth it. And, look at the cold hard truth, says the Yahoo Home article:

A room addition might sound like a great idea, until you realize that doing so could cost you as much as $100,000. In fact, according to Remodeling magazine’s 2011-2012 Cost vs. Value Report, a master suite could cost over $106,000, while adding a family room could run you around $83,000.

If you are unsure, ask around. See what’s hot in the neighborhood. Are your neighbors having to do upgrades to sell or their homes or are properties flying off the market faster than the inventory? And lastly, if you work regularly with a Realtor you trust, give her a call. Ask her about curb appeal and the current trendy must-haves at open houses – no one knows better about home sales than someone who’s doing it daily!

An award-winning Realtor®, Lydia Gable is a Realtor who pays special attention to maintaining diligent communication with clients to assure a successful home sale. Lydia Gable lives and works in the community. If you have any questions related to this topic or if you are interested in buying or selling a home in and around Westlake Village, contact Lydia Gable today for an appointment.

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