Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Haunting hooplas

The bewitching day is officially here

Express Staff Writer

They’re off to find the treats offered by Hailey businesses marked with black and orange balloons for the annual Halloweeen Hoopla Wednesday, Oct. 31.

    Halloween ended for me as a newly turned 9-year-old. It was in Houston in 1974 and I hadn’t even changed out of my Kermit costume when my mother ransacked my room for my loot. But it wasn’t for the mini-Snickers this time and she wasn’t enjoying the quarry.
    That night, Oct. 31, 1974, is the day that Halloween died. We just knew about it sooner at my house because my mom was working as night editor at the newspaper and the cop reporter called in saying a child had gotten a tainted bit of candy stick and died.
    “The Candy Man” or “The Man Who Killed Halloween” as Ronald Clark O’Brian was dubbed, was aiming for both his kids with his jacked-up Pixy Sticks and created an elaborate scheme to blame it on a mysterious neighbor so he could collect $40,000 in life insurance.
    By the next year, nary a candle was lit or a miniature Hershey collected. As years passed, police departments and hospitals offered to X-ray candy and people applied to be designated safe houses, but my poor little brother Rocky only got his Star Wars light saber out once to use the force for candy before aging out of the business.
    On the 30th anniversary of the last day I trick or treated, University of Delaware Professor Joel Best, a renowned expert in criminal justice, was quoted in an online interview on as saying that in his 20 years as a sociologist, he had yet to find a case in which a stranger deliberately poisoned trick-or-treaters. But it’s still a chilling prospect.
    As the snow comes down in Ketchum, the Friday before Halloween, and I sit at my desk at this little town weekly writing about all the great things happening around town for this holiday, I reflected on how, while it still remained my favorite holiday well into adulthood and punched-up punch took the place of candy, moving to a strange place alone was going to cost me Halloween once again. Plus, it was often cold.
    And then I had children. And I felt the excitement building back but still I never dreamed kids still went door-to-door in this crazy country. We never had any treaters at our house in Gannett despite my ghoulish décor and leaving a light on. But I was so wrong! And in the 11 years I’ve been here now I have had my faith restored in humankind in more ways than one.
    So while this horror story next to an info box full of the many fun, safe and community-strengthened events may have shocked or bothered you, dear reader, it was instead intended to remind you of one of the myriad reasons why Blaine County is a great place to live.      
    A place where old traditions live on, with tenacity and care and a nod to differences in views and cultures with the area’s churches sponsoring a
“nonscary” Harvest Party and schools learning about el Dia de Los Muertos, Latin America’s Halloween, which happens Nov. 1.
    In the week before this day alone there has been a Witches Tea and a Zombie Walk, in Hailey. The Center for the Arts free family day around their “Happy Ever After?” exhibit and a Nightmare on Main Street. In Ketchum Sunday, the always over-the-top Hemingway Halloween shindig. Monday and Tuesday saw the awesome Haunted Forest in Bellevue, which at least 1,000 people a year come to see.
    And still, the party ain’t over.
    New this year is Story Mania at the Hailey Public Library where Cathy Neumann, a teacher with more than 15 years of experience working with pre-school and kindergarten children, will be introduced as a new employee and lead a story and craft activity at 10:30 a.m. Sgt. Brad Gelskey of the Blaine County Sheriff’s Office will offer safe Halloween tips, and graduates will earn a certificate of completion along with a bag of goodies.    
    The action continues from 3-
6 p.m. all around Hailey with costume contests at King’s, trick or treating at balloon-designated businesses and a special spooky display at Aqua Pro Spa and Pool and snacks at Cowboy Cocina for kids in costume.
    Also, at least two Trunk or Treats will be held, one in Woodside and one in Hailey as mentioned in the sidebar.
    And there’s a pumpkin chuckin’ party Saturday, Nov. 3, at the Sawtooth Botanical Garden. Check out the Around Town item on C1.
    Halloween is a chance to be a kid again, or to make a memory for one, or to dress up and hang out with people at a party. So get out and enjoy it and show the people some love for keeping another tradition alive and be thankful that you live here.
    And let’s face it, if you’re like me, you are more thankful for free candy than for the turkey and dressing that comes with that other gratitude-filled holiday.

 A day of free delights
Wednesday, Oct. 31
10:30 a.m. “Story Mania” at the Hailey Public Library.
3 p.m. “Costume Contest” at King’s on Hailey’s Main Street.
Pre-K at 3 p.m., K through grade 3 at 3:30 p.m., grades 4-6 at 4 p.m., grades 7-12 at 4:30 p.m. and adults at 5 p.m.
3-6 p.m. “Trick or Treat” at Hailey merchants with black and orange balloons visible.
4-6 p.m. “Haunted Kitchen,” snacks for children wearing a costume at the Cowboy Cocina in the Meriwether Building by Java in Hailey.
5-7 p.m. River Street Halloween, snacks and treats for kids. 731 N. River Street in Hailey.
6 p.m. “Trunk or Treat” at Bellevue Memorial Park. Hotdogs and chips and drinks will be for sale.
7 p.m. “Trunk or Treat” at the Life Church in Woodside, 3140 Snow Bank Drive.


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