You hear a sound and it jars you awake from a fitful sleep. You look at the clock on your bedside. 3:00 a.m. The bewitching hour. You try to go back to sleep but it's all for naught. Something doesn't feel right. It's in the air. You can feel it in your bones. 

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Another sound. A flash of light. You sit up in bed, nestle your feet into your house slippers and exit your bedroom. You hear a faint voice in the darkness. It's not scary. In fact, it's almost...warm, friendly...seductive. It beckons you through the hallway and down the stairs. 

As you descend, suddenly there comes a tapping, as of someone gently rapping, rapping at your chamber door. 

"'Tis some visitor," you mutter, "tapping at my chamber door - only this and nothing more."

But, when you open your chamber door, you see not a visitor. Instead, you see a candelabra on top of a crudely fashioned slip of paper, adorned with words that both exhilarate and frighten you.

'Your Presence is Requested Required on This, the 31st of October: Samhain.' 

Suddenly, the door slams behind you. The candle is blown out; by whom, or what, you don't know. And then you feel a coarse, cold hand on your shoulder...


It wasn't always like this. For years and years, October 31st has been a day of consumption and corruption. When you were a child, it was dressing up as a comic book character or a horror movie icon and going door-to-door, begging for candy. As you got older, it became less about the candy and more about the alcohol. Costumes transitioned from Batman or Freddy Krueger into 'Edgar Allen Hoe' or a 'Sexy Tree.' Halloween became known more for its debauchery than for its dread.

And it was awesome.

But this year, there's something strange in the neighborhood and it comes courtesy of Azriel Anthony.

Azriel loves two things more than almost any other: History and Halloween. And now, he and his team are combining both to create a truly unique Halloween experience in Casper.

And you're invited.

Candlelight Frights is presenting an 'exclusive, immersive, interactive, and historical Hallow's Eve experience,' and it's happening one night only, on October 31, in Casper.

"My entire life, I've loved Halloween," Anthony told K2 Radio News. "It's always been my favorite holiday. This is 100% my vision and, essentially, what really piqued my interest is the fact that several years ago I'd seen some photographs of some historical Halloween costumes that were positively terrifying. And they were all homemade. And that really got me interested in the history of Halloween and some of the traditions that we'd forgotten."

Anthony said that during the pandemic, he picked up three books on the history and the traditions of Halloween.

"It was in reading those and taking some notes that I came up with an idea to, essentially, have a historical, Halloween-themed party, which I was just going to do with some friends at my house," Anthony said. "And we would just actually do some of these traditions. And when I started sharing this idea with some friends and asked them if they'd want to come, everybody was like, 'Yes, please.'"

The response was great and it made Anthony begin to think a little bigger, a little broader.

Thus, Candlelight Frights: A Haunted Historic Hallow's Eve Experience was created.

It starts, if you choose, with an invitation.

"We wanted to give people two routes to get to the event," Anthony stated. "One is no nonsense; just show up for the party and you can experience the immersive historical Halloween. But the other choice is going to take some time..."

Individuals can just show up to the party and experience everything the event has to offer on that night. But for those who want the real, theatrical, interactive experience, well, it starts with an invitation. At first, during the month of September, those who chose the 'Path of Mystery Veiled in Secret' would have been delivered a hand-made invitation - just like it happened back in the 'Ago.' Now that it's getting closer and closer to the night of the event, the invitation comes via Email.

Once individuals are given the invitation, that's when the real fun begins.

"We have four different clue paths set up that involve some local macabre history, if you will," Anthony revealed. "There's a poem or a riddle that begins each of the paths that maybe somebody who's moved to Casper from elsewhere wouldn't immediately recognize. They might need to ask a neighbor or talk to a reference library to identify those locations."

Anthony said those who have spent a significant amount of time in Casper might recognize the locations a little bit easier. Once the first location is identified, it offers another clue in the form of a poem that will lead to the next location.

We don't want to give away any of the clues now (that's half the fun, of course) but we can tell you that the locations are spooky, fascinating, and absolutely appropriate for the Halloween season.

There are YouTube videos to study, QR codes to scan, photographs to pinpoint and so much more. The entire journey delves into the haunted history of Casper, featuring stories about some of the town's most notorious urban legends. Once you find all of the locations and learn all that there is to know about the macabre side of Casper's history, the final location will be revealed and that is where the party will commence.

Of course, if you want to skip all of that and just go straight to the party, you could choose 'The Path of Clarity,' but where's the fun in that?

This event is more than just an excuse to don a costume and drink (not that there's anything wrong with that- Halloween can be anything to anybody); it's a chance to learn more about the history of Casper, and the history of All Hallows' Eve.

"I'm an original Hallo-Weenie," Anthony laughed. "I have a literal pallet full of Halloween decorations. I've got holographic ghosts in my windows. That's how much I'm into Halloween. Some people are crazy about Christmas; I'm crazy about Halloween. But I'm also a history educator and a historian. So this stuff has interested me my whole life and the more I learned about it, the more I went 'Wow! This is really cool! What's a dumb supper? You mean people used to picnic in graveyards?' There's all this stuff that so many people don't know, that so many Americans would've appreciated all over this country. There are all these customs and traditions that have totally been forgotten as the holiday became more and more commercialized."

The goal of Candlelight Frights is to bring Halloween back to its original roots, detailing some of the traditions that would eventually evolve into what we know them as today.

There's the Dumb Supper, which is particularly interesting.

"At midnight, in silence, these very simple flower and water cakes, called 'Soul Cakes,' are distributed and people break off a piece and take a bite," Anthony said. "And then, the party-goers are supposed to walk backwards out of the Halloween party venue through the front entrance."

Anthony said that, obviously, the tradition will need to be updated a bit, so as to avoid jailtime.

"Of course we can't have people on Halloween driving home backwards right?" he asked. "Unless they would like a visit with the Casper Police Department. But people should, when they get out of their cars, walk backwards into their house, take another bite of the soul cake, and then place the rest of it under their pillow. And that night, they're supposed to dream of their one true love."

This event in Casper will have actual soul cakes, made by a local bakery, so if you've ever wanted to know who your one true love really is, this might be the tradition for you.

The 'Dumb Supper' isn't the only tradition that will be re-enacted on this night, All Hallows' Eve. But to reveal them now would spoil the fun.

Costumes are required and they're not talking about something off the rack from Spirit Halloween. To get the full, historical, traditional Halloween experience, guests are encouraged to make their own costumes which, if pictures are to be believed, are much scarier anyway. Of course, if guests have neither the time nor the money to make their own, store-bought costumes are fine.

"The idea behind this is that you make your own costumes," Anthony said. "And that's why we started promoting this event two months before Halloween; so that people who really want to attend could start thinking about it and making preparations."

For those who don't know where to even begin when it comes to designing a costume, Candlelight Frights will be putting on various costume-making workshops throughout October. Information on those workshops can be found at the event's website.

There will be a costume contest at the event, awarding prizes to 'Best Costume,' 'Most Original Costume,' and 'Scariest Costume.' There will also be various performances, including dream interpretation from Madame Kathleen, tarot readings from Madame Natasha, and pendulum readings from Madame Jennifer. Guests also have the opportunity to participate in an actual theatrical séance, complete with a spirit medium.

Music from all kinds of different eras will provide the soundtrack of the evening and there will be a myriad of snacks, drinks, and other activities. Those who choose to imbibe will have the opportunity to purchase alcohol, but there will be 'mocktails' made available as well.

More than anything, this event will conjure both the history and the meaning of what Halloween really is. It's so much more than candy and costumes and drinking (oh my!). Its roots, while not nefarious, are mysterious. There's a poignancy to the holiday. It's dark and gothic, sure. But these traditions are also seeped in community engagement. Some of those traditions are designed to feed the poor. Others are to show thanks for the harvest that affected the entire township. And others, still, were just designed to be a good time.

That is what this Haunted Historic Hallows' Eve Experience is designed to do. It will educate and inspire but, more than anything, it will just be a good time. It will be a unique way to celebrate what some argue is this country's greatest holiday. It's a chance to gather with friends and loved ones and maybe even make a few new friends. It is an event unlike any other, something Casper has never seen and may not ever see again. It's a one night only affair, and it will leave you with moments that you will never forget. You'll learn many things about Casper, and maybe even a few things about yourself. And you'll do it candlelight.


Suddenly, the door slams behind you. The candle is blown out; by whom, or what, you don't know. And then you feel a coarse, cold hand on your shoulder...

You awake with a start. "Just a nightmare," you say out loud. It was just a nightmare. And a weird one, at that. It was you, but it was a different time, a different place. Like, who uses candles to walk around at night anymore? 

You laugh to yourself and pick up your phone to check the time (and maybe your Twitter notifications). 

3:00 a.m. on the dot. "That's funny," you think. "That was the time in my..." 

Suddenly you hear a tapping coming from the other room. This tapping wasn't a rapping so much; it was more of a...typing? 

You get out of bed and throw your Snuggie on (It's October in Wyoming, after all). You walk out of your bedroom and down the hall, flipping on as many lights as you can. Maybe the dream scared you more than you thought. 

You go to your front door and open it, but there's nothing and nobody there. You roll your eyes at yourself and ready yourself to go back to bed, but you see your office is illuminated by the light of a screen. It's probably just your computer but...didn't you turn it off? You always turn it off. 

Oh well, you'll go turn it off now. You enter the room and you see the computer is, indeed, turned on. And as you approach it, you notice that, blinking on the white screen, is a message - one that you're sure you didn't write. 

'Your Presence is Requested Required on This, the 31st of October: Samhain.' 

Tickets to the Haunted Historic Hallows' Eve Experience, produced by Candlelight Frights, can be purchased at this website. 

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