BOW-DACIOUS IS THIS HOMEMADE COSTUME – The lady in bows joins the Beatles’ Mean Mr. Mustard while Vicky Singleton plies one and all with candy last Thursday. Hordes of students paraded down South First Street Halloween afternoon. That was prelude to coming back up the street to get treats from the merchants. – Photo by Ken Stern
BATS GALORE, OR HOLY BAT FAMILY! – What could be better for Batwoman than to walk down South First with Batgirl on Halloween? Filling bags and plastic pumpkins with candy makes the day more scrumptious. – Photo by Ken Stern
There was no masking the enthusiasm for Halloween in La Conner last week.
There weren’t even storm clouds to shroud excitement for all the guys and ghouls who donned costumes and paraded First Street prior to the big Halloween Carnival at La Conner Elementary School which was held afterward. “The weather was awesome,” said Beth Schmittou Bowles, who along with fellow members of the La Conner Parent-Teacher-Student Association coordinated the array of family fun activities in town Thursday afternoon and evening. It proved an ideal setting not only for regular folks wearing irregular garb, but celebrities as well. Real life superheroes Batman and Spiderman took in the parade from atop Nasty Jack’s Antiques, apparently preferring to flee Hollywood for La Conner on an afternoon in late October rather than during the peak summer tourist season. Locals, too, donned get-ups worthy of movie sets. There were large dinosaurs, princesses, an astronaut sharing a space shuttle with an alien, swamp creatures, soldiers, ninjas, ghosts and many more. La Conner merchants likewise caught the spirit in spooktacular fashion. “Many of them generously participated in trick-or-treating from the Lime Dock Building all the way to the end of First Street,” said Bowles. More treats awaited at the elementary school gym, site of the second annual La Conner Halloween Carnival, a more-than-worthy successor to the old Prankless Halloween Parties that drew large crowds here for decades. “At peak times,” Bowles said, “we had approximately 150 students and parents at this year’s Carnival.” There was much to attract them. A dozen booths, all hand-made by Matt Bowles and including new entries Plinko and Putt-Putt Golf, were hits with kids and adults alike. Ditto the costume contests, which this time around featured a parent’s category. Another popular Carnival stop was a photo booth where friends and family members could take pictures in front of a boo-tiful Halloween backdrop. There was so much going on that a couple dozen student volunteers were enlisted to run booths in support of the teachers and community members who worked the event. “It was super important,” Beth Bowles said of the student participation, “because the PTSA couldn’t make the Carnival work without their help.” Those who put together the storied Prankless Halloween Parties in the old high school gym couldn’t agree more. “I ran the Halloween Party for 14 years,” recalled Sue Winn,” and I can tell you it is an amazing amount of work. Hats off to Beth and the PTSA. I love that they are maintaining a tradition.” The great weather on Thursday was equally welcome at Swinomish Tribal Community, where a first-ever Trunk-or-Treat party at John K. Bob Ball Park came off without a hitch. Or at least without need of a hitch. Parked vehicles decorated with Halloween themes, many sponsored by Tribal departments, allowed children and families to safely collect candy away from heavily traveled streets. “It was a great idea,” said Cathi Bassford. “I’m glad we had such a large turnout.” Barb James joined her in endorsing the new format. “I wasn’t sure how a Trunk-or-Treat worked,” she said. “It turned out very nice. It was great.” Further proof that local Halloween memories are even sweeter than the night’s candy haul.