Arts & Culture News

Somehow, Celina Became the Halloween Capital of Texas

We are just as shocked as you are that Celina is the Halloween Capital of Texas.
We are just as shocked as you are that Celina is the Halloween Capital of Texas. Sabina Music Rich/Unsplash
For those unfamiliar (or simply skeptical), not only does the city of Celina exist, but things also happen there.

The North Texas town is home to some 17,000 festive residents who really like to celebrate just about everything: They have annual events called CajunFest, Christmas on the Square, OktoberFest and a Farmer’s Market on Friday nights, plus a series called Movies on the Square and something called Splash and Blast 4th of July Celebration. Celina's Beware! of the Square event, however, has made it a Halloween destination.

You may have a hard time placing Celina on a Texas map, but it’s somewhere north of Frisco. So far the city's been best known (to those who knew of it) for mispronouncing its own name to rhyme with a female body part, instead of with the name of a late Tejano singer.

But now, the city has placed itself on the map via an honor courtesy of Collin County Judge Chris Hill, who proclaimed Celina the Halloween Capital of Texas.


“Transforming their historic downtown square into a Halloween showcase, the City of Celina has created one of the greatest annual Fall celebrations in the region,” Hill said in a statement. “I commend the City staff and the Celina community for making this a fantastic and safe event for families from throughout North Texas, and I was honored to name Celina the Halloween Capital of North Texas.”

We’ll concede that the town’s new slogan is better than Dallas’ still-lingering nickname “City of Hate” or sexy alternative “Big D” — or even sexier alternative, “Triple D.” There’s also far worse still — in neighboring town Anna’s racist acronym old slogan, for example — but how Celina got such a Tim Burtonish reputation as Texas’ own Halloweentown, we don’t know.

Just as surprising is the global destination known as the Halloween Capital of the World. Nope, not Salem, Sleepy Hollow, San Francisco or New Orleans. And nope again, it's not anywhere in Mexico. The title of Halloween Capital of the World goes to Anoka, Minnesota — also a real place.

Many cities in Texas would’ve made a great choice as Halloween capital. The state boasts of several ghost towns and haunted locations — San Antonio is a hotspot for Halloween tourism, with famed "haunted" historic spots such as the Menger Hotel — and then, of course, there are cities that are home to famous ghouls, such as Austin (home to Gov. Greg Abbott), and Houston (where Sen. Ted Cruz resides).

But spookiness is not really what Halloween is about. It’s about teaching kids that consuming candy is its own reward. It's about skimpy costumes. And, mostly, it's about spending thousands of dollars on unconvincingly scary lawn décor to outdo your neighbors.

We're hoping that the new town slogan means every citizen in Celina is now obligated to hand out full-sized candy bars to trick-or-treaters. (We're pretty sure that's in the HOA contract in Plano's Deerfield neighborhood.) That is, if you can trick-or-treat in Celina, where houses are miles apart from each other — though all that walking will work off the candy-induced calories (bonus: you can now fit in that skimpy costume!)

Celina is gearing up to throw its third Beware! of the Square event on Oct. 23, and it's free to attend. And not to try to "Kanye" Celina's big moment, but the Halloween Capital of Texas title could've also been given to the East Dallas home where an artist's Halloween decorations prompted multiple calls to Dallas police last year.
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Eva Raggio is the Dallas Observer's music and arts editor, a job she took after several years of writing about local culture and music for the paper. Eva supports the arts by rarely asking to be put on "the list" and always replies to emails, unless the word "pimp" makes up part of the artist's name.
Contact: Eva Raggio