Pumpkins roll and the dead rise for Coupeville’s annual Haunting

Coupeville’s Halloween spirit is in full force, with the annual descending of ghosts, ghouls and scarecrows to the town for a month-long celebration of all that’s scary during the Haunting of Coupeville.

Spooky decorations are out, propped up by participants of the SCAREY-CROW TRAIL. This year, the trail voting is evolving into the 21st century, organizer Rebecca Robinson said.

People can text the number 484-848 with the number of their favorite Halloween display to vote for their favorite props. Trail maps and corresponding entry numbers can be picked up from the Chamber of Commerce or the Coupeville Library.

The theme this year is “whimsical, traditional, or spooky scary movie characters,” and so far 20 Coupeville businesses, restaurants and organizations are participating, bringing both traditional fall entries of iconic straw-stuffed scarecrows and displays slightly more gruesome.

Movie creatures that have crawled out of the woodwork include the Ghostbuster’s Marshmallow Man, Edward Scissorhands, Jack Skellington and Sally, Hannibal, and Davy Jones and the Monsters, Inc. crew.

Some groups, such as Coupeville Garden Club, have found the “punny” side of things in their displays — Mr. Scissorhands might just be coming to give your garden a trim, a sign warns. Betelgeuse finds “juicy art at the Penn Cove Gallery” and at the Rain Shadow Nursery, the uniformed Ghostbuster scarecrow Rainy Day says,“April showers bring May flowers” as she lassoes the large puffy marshmallow man next to her.

Maps to the Scarey-Crow Trail can be picked up at the Chamber of Commerce or the Coupeville Library.

Maps to the Scarey-Crow Trail can be picked up at the Chamber of Commerce or the Coupeville Library.

“It’s a lot of fun, we love it,” Lynda Eccles, executive director of the Coupeville Chamber of Commerce, said of the Haunting of Coupeville traditions. Next door to the Chamber is the WEARY BONES REST STOP GRAVEYARD, accessible through the Rec Hall parking lot. A new Halloween event this year is the HAUNTED HALLER HOUSE. Lynn Hyde of Historic Whidbey said ticket-purchasers can explore the passages of the first floor in a loosely guided tour of the house that’s now stood for over 150 years.

The creeky old house will be open the weekend evenings Oct. 19- 20 and Oct. 26-27 with general admission $5 a person. The Oct. 26 and 27 kid-friendly days are by donation. Times for each day can be found on the Haunting of Coupeville website.

The Haller House may have some dearly departed souls still lingering around, waiting to be discovered by paranormal experts on Halloween on Thursday Oct. 31. Historic Whidbey is hosting a paranormal investigation of the house from 6:30 to 9 p.m., with tickets $20 a person, Hyde said.

The Coupeville Library will have fun for visitors ages 5-17 with SPOOKY GRAHAM CRACKER HOUSES 2-3:30 p.m. Oct. 11, where youth can build an edible mini haunted house.

No celebration of Halloween in Coupeville would be complete without acknowledging the star-studded movie, “Practical Magic,” which included footage of downtown two decades ago. But of course, the book is better than the movie, in the opinion of those at the Kingfisher Bookstore.

“The book is richer. There’s some stark differences as to how the story unfolds,” Meg Olsen said. She and her husband Brad took over the store last July and said they’re excited to participate with a Haunting of Coupeville event of their own, a Kingfisher Bookstore PRACTICAL MAGIC READ-ALONG. People can buy the package that includes a bookbag and the Practical Magic book, then join in the discussion nights at the bookstore, catered by bayleaf. The next “mocktail and nosh” discussions will be Oct. 11 and Oct. 18.

For fans of the famous film, there will be a PRACTICAL MAGIC MOVIE NIGHT5:30 p.m. at bayleaf, with tickets available on their website.

The cold, stone walls of HAUNTED FORT CASEY will be dripping with blood and gore as misshapen ghoulish creatures lunge from the dark for the popular event at the Fort Casey State Park. It will run 6:30-10 p.m. Oct. 25-26.This year, ticket sales will be available online only, and can be purchased through the Whidbey Playhouse website. The Fort will be decked out, as well as the haunted switchboard, kid-friendly zone and a trick or treat street.

Costumes of all kinds will be up for judgment at 4:30 p.m. Saturday Oct. 26 at Cook’s Corner park, followed by the TORCHLIGHT PARADE beginning at 5 p.m. The first 100 young children to show up prior to the parade receive a flashlight from Central Whidbey Island Fire & Rescue members. Winners of the costume contests are announced at the end of the parade, for the best dressed humans and canines.

October’s pumpkin party continues 1-5 p.m. Sunday Oct. 27 at the GREAT COUPEVILLE PUMPKIN RACE on Alexander Street.

The decorated orange ovals get wheels slapped onto them and are sent to roll in the competition for the Pumpkin Race Championship Trophy and other prizes. There’s also an award for “best crash,” for pumpkins that turn into squash.