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OC's Annual Hearse Roll

Atmospheric autos line up for a Costa Mesa tradition.



    EERIE AUTOMOTIVES: Some Halloween or October traditions seem to me more standard than others. Costume parties? Check. School parades? Yep. Haunted mazes? Definitely. But finding an autumn tradition that has a more automotive or machine-based bent is a bit trickier. Sure, you can get involved in building animatronics for a haunted house, but, other than that, the spooky holiday is very much about masks, bobbing for apples, and tiny candies. But then there are the hearses, the unofficial official vehicle of the creepiest day of the year. It's a funny thing to consider, given the fact that the hearse is a transport with a serious and meaningful roll (not to mention that hearses do what they do throughout the year). No matter; the cars' powerfully symbolic relationship with the Great Beyond means you're more likely to see them portrayed on television and on decor this time of year. And, if you happen to be in Costa Mesa on the right day at the right time, you might see hearses in person. (In car?)

    HEARSE PARADE: The annual hearse roll at the OC Marketplace is one of the more popular holiday events of the year; after all, where else can one see several stretch cars, with their curtains and tassels, in one place? The hearses'll be out during the marketplace's Trick or Treat Festival on Sunday, Oct. 28.

    THE DRIVERS: Many of the 30+ cars will hail from the Phantom Coaches Hearse Club of Southern California. Expect to see hearses that look very traditional, complete with a gray or black paint job, to some that are more whimsically rendered. Go carts, caskets, ambulances, and other vehicles are slated to join the parade.

    DAY OF THE DEAD: Altars and other Dia de los Muertos happenings will be going on throughout the six-hour celebration; hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.