It's a ghoul's paradise this weekend as Halloween engulfs the valley in fiendish fun.
No matter your age or inclination, there is something for everyone, from the ice rink to the horse barn and everything in between. The only resounding requirement for most of these free or almost free events is a costume.
Creativity is at a premium this year for sure with several new events being launched.
One place to get tickets for as soon as possible is Bellevue's Haunted Forest, which draws at least 1,000 people in its two-night run Saturday and Sunday.
Sara Burns, one of the Bellevue Haunted Forest's organizers, said volunteers have been pulling late nights since August to get ready building props and rehearsing. It takes nearly 100 people to do the job, a third of which are teenagers from YAK.
The spooky path winds through the Howard Preserve off Main Street in Bellevue and features classic vignettes along the way, such as witches and vampire gatherings, but the rest is a secret to be revealed to ticket holders only. This is not a tour for the squeamish, and those with young children or who scare easily should wander the woods while it is still light out.
"Woods at dark by themselves can be scary enough, and with our added spookiness, you just never know how people will react," Burns said. "Some kids seem completely unaffected while we've had adults literally pee themselves."
Burns said the event is so successful because of the dedicated volunteers.
"Their creativity and dedication are top notch. I think it's also successful because of how the community has embraced the event and hearing people scream their way through the Howard Preserve, all while raising money to keep that very preserve the special place that it is—that's what keeps us going."
Here's a list of events to keep you going and to ensure a Halloweekend to remember:
Friday, Oct. 28
- Shuffle like a zombie. Zombie Walk organizer Karen Brown means this event to be fun, inoffensive and by the rules governing the undead. There was a misunderstanding about the stroll, which was originally meant to meet near the Hailey Cemetery. Brown wants to assure the public that no members of the gathering ever would have, or will set foot in the cemetery. The group is to meet at the bike path and Fox Acres Road to wander around town from 7-9 p.m. Polite zombies and accompanied junior zombies are welcome.
Teddie Daley of the Hailey Cemetery said a few concerned citizens called and likewise wanted to reassure the public that as usual around this time of year, the gates will be locked there, and that police have been notified in case anyone gets any ideas to test the limits. Brown has a hefty list of rules for conduct, so if your plan is to be naughty, not nice, pick another party.
Saturday, Oct. 29
- Horse around in costume at the Sawtooth Pony Club's fundraising horse show and play date starting at 10 a.m. The Halloween Fun Show and Potluck is open to anyone with a horse and a sense of humor. Riders check in for $15 (to the club) and spend the afternoon kicking around the arena taking classes for $10 each, or $50 for all you can manage, and compete for prizes in silly games like Jumpin' Carrot Relay, Egg 'n' Spoon, costume contests and candy races. A potluck dish to share is requested, but no pre-entry is necessary. Rain or shine, meet at the River Sage Stables south of Bellevue at 20 East Prairie Sun. Call Sarah Berkowitz at 316-1212 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
- For those who haven't outgrown the need to dress up and act out, the Wood River Y and the Blaine County Recreation District have paired up to offer a Parent's Night Out in Hailey. Call ahead and reserve a spot for your kid or kids and you can run amok from 5:30-9:30 p.m. and they'll be entertained at the Community Campus HUB with cookie decorating, pizza, bouncy castle, art and a movie. This is open to kids ages 5-10 and is $25 for members, $30 for nonmembers. Siblings cost $15. Pre-register by calling 727-9622.
- Kid-free and the valley is your pumpkin. You can dash down to Howard Preserve behind Mahoney's for the Bellevue Haunted Forest. It's open from 5-9 p.m. Buy your tickets in advance—this event sells out every year and there are only 500 available each night. Proceeds go for long-term preservation of the preserve. Tickets are only $5 and are for sale at the Bead Shop in Hailey, and Oak St. Foods, Mahoney's, and Splash & Dash in Bellevue.
- Get a babysitter and get your freak on at the Hailey Hotel where the Str8t-Up Band will play during the costume party starting at 9 p.m. No cover charge for the fun.
- The hearty party will be in Ketchum at A Nightmare on Main Street Party. Main Street will be closed for a variety of booligans from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. Prizes for outstanding costumes in categories of best overall, best group, best male, best female, creepiest and sexiest. Finalists will be put to a final crowd vote around 10:30 p.m. Music from the '80s will be provided by the Pop Kult Kids starting at 9 p.m. at Whiskey Jacques', $5 at the door.
Sunday, Oct. 30
- Trick or treat early and then skate off the sugar as Sun Valley Resort hosts a scavenger hunt and candy acquisition from 3-8 p.m. at the Sun Valley Village shops. Halloween on Ice at Sun Valley Skating Center will offer $5 skating from 4-8 p.m. with refreshments, broom ball, pumpkin bowling on ice, cookie decorating, face painting and more. Costume contest at 6 p.m. with prizes for first, second and third places.
- One of the most elaborate family-friendly events under one roof takes place today at Hemingway Elementary. Sponsored by the Ketchum Parks and Recreation Department, all ages are invited to come in costume and partake of the Hemingway Halloween Party complete with pumpkins, bouncy toys, spook alley, "scaryoke" from 1-3 p.m. Free.
If you haven't, it's the last time for a whole year to get spooked at the Bellevue Haunted Forest in Howard Preserve. Gates open from 5-9 p.m. Tickets are $5. Could be sold out, so check with these places for tickets first: Bead Shop in Hailey, Oak St. Foods, Mahoney's and Splash & Dash in Bellevue.
Monday, Oct. 31 THIS IS IT!
The Hailey Hoopla just gets bigger and better every year as merchants get their coffins buffed and their warts waxed in time to greet trick-or-treaters. Costumed children will get treated at any business featuring orange and black balloons starting at 3 p.m. The Liberty Theatre on Main Street hosts a costume contest starting at 4 p.m. with pre-k contest. Grades K-3 at 4:30 p.m.; 5:15 p.m. for grades 4-6; 6 p.m. for grades 7-12 and 6:30 p.m. for adults. Haunted Kitchen will provide snacks at the Meriwether Building until 6:30 p.m. Drivers, please use caution around town as the goblins don't always pay attention to traffic.
When that wraps up, check out the Harvest Party at the Community Campus. This is the place to bob for donuts on a string, fish for prizes, play games for candy and find lots of inflatable bouncy diversions. Suggested admission is one nonperishable food item for the Hunger Coalition. This runs from 6-8 p.m.
What are you waiting for? Get dressed!
Jennifer Liebrum: email@example.com