Homer embraces Halloween from the Hickory and beyond

Like pretty much everything it does, Homer puts its own stamp on traditions — including Halloween, the day when kids dress up as creepy monsters and beg for candy and people embrace their inner fears. While the Views — Homer’s downtown streets like Mountainview, Bayview and Fairview that end with “view” — fill with trick-or-treaters, to be truly frightened, head to the end of the road for the classic fright fest.

That would be the Haunted Hickory, the annual tricking out of the 225-foot buoy tender that started in 1991 with the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Sedge. That event set the tone when “it scared the socks off more than 650 visitors,” the Homer News said then.

This year, the Haunted Hickory starts off the Halloween week today from 4-5 p.m. for children and those who want a light fright. The serious scare happens from 6-9 p.m. when it’s lights out.

“Dressing the ship down with themed decorations throughout, the darkened passageways of the ship can provide a really frightening atmosphere,” said Hickory Public Affairs Officer ENS Caleb Metroka.

Metroka said the Hickory crew has divided up the ship into areas, with a team decorating a section.

“Each area is going to have its own unique theme to add to the chaos and make it more scary so you don’t know what to expect,” he said.

Admission is two nonperishable food items, all donated to the Homer Community Food Pantry. Last year more than 1,000 people attended, donating more than 1.2 tons of food. Because visitors wait outside on the Pioneer Dock for small tours through the ship, people should dress for the weather. The forecast calls for a 90-percent chance of rain with low temperatures in the low 40s. Groups of from six to 10 people are brought in at one time, with maybe three or four groups on the ship at one time. People who arrive early will probably board early, Metroka said. Wait times will be longer later

“Towards the end of the night, people will be waiting one to two hours. Definitely dress for the weather,” he said.

Kids who stay up late today won’t have school on Friday, but you won’t want to miss the McNeil Canyon Elementary School Fall Carnival, running 5-8 p.m. Friday.

If you want to see fancy dress-up outfits, Wearable Arts runs at 6 and 9 p.m. Saturday at Land’s End Resort. Sponsored by the Homer Fiber Arts Collective and Bunnell Street Arts Center, the fashion show features amazing creations, including work done in workshops run by artist in residence Sheila Wyne. Admission is $25 in advance or $30 at the door.

Halloween on Oct. 31 features trick-or-treating around the lower Kenai Peninsula. Get in the mood by taking one last look at the Homer Council on the Arts Dias de Los Muertos show, open in the gallery from 1-5 p.m.

In Anchor Point from 4:30-6 p.m. at the Anchor Point Senior Center, it’s Trunk or Treat. Rather than have kids walk along dark, scary rural roads, in Anchor Point, the treats come to the kids. People are encouraged to dress up their cars and trucks and pass out candy to wandering ghosts and goblins. The senior center will be open with cocoa and hot cider to warm you up.

At Long Term Care at South Peninsula Hospital, residents and staff also invite trick-or-treaters to visit with their elders and get candy. That runs 4-7 p.m. Halloween. For a safe time for kids and families to spend Halloween, also visit the Christian Community Church’s Harvest Carnival from 5:30-7:30 p.m. with free hot dogs, games and candy.

At Alice’s Champagne Palace, it’s a kid-friendly night from 6 to 8 p.m. with a kids costume contest and an ice-cream sundae bar for children ages 12 and younger. Kid-friendly dance music plays.

Downtown Homer lures many people from around town and beyond to trick-or-treat the neighborhood uphill from Pioneer Avenue. To keep families safe, from 5-8 p.m. traffic is one-way going west on Bayview Avenue and one-way going east on Mountainview. Halloween One-Ways encourages streamline traffic flow and safer spaces for walkers. People are encouraged to park and walk on side streets or other public parking areas.

For adults looking for some spooky times, Kharacters, once Homer’s post office, holds a Halloween Bash from 10 p.m.-2 a.m. Featuring the band Barroom Roses, this year’s theme is “Garden of Evil.” Think big, angry plants. Prizes will be given out at midnight. The event is for ages 21 and older.

Parents, if after a night of candy collecting you think your kids might have gathered too much, turn in candy from 4-7 p.m. Nov. 3 at Homer Medical Center with the Great Candy Exchange. Trade in candy for a prize and donate goodies to Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson for distribution to troops. Coincidentally, from 4-7 p.m. also is a free children’s flu shot clinic at Homer Medical Center.

Reach Michael Armstrong at michael.armstrong@homernews.com.

Halloween events

Oct. 26

Haunted Hickory

Pioneer Dock, Homer Spit

4-5 p.m., less-intense, lights-on tour for young children

6-9 p.m., scarier tour for ages 13 and up

Oct. 27

McNeil Canyon Elementary School Fall Carnival

5-8 p.m.

Oct. 28

Wearable Arts

6, 9 p.m. Land’s End Resort

Oct. 31 Halloween

Trick or treating

4-7 p.m.

Long Term Care

South Peninsula Hospital

Trunk or Treat

4:30-6 p.m.

Anchor Point Senior Center

Halloween One-ways

5-8 p.m.

One-way traffic flow east on Mountainview and west on Bayview Avenues

Harvest Carnival

5:30-7:30 p.m.

Christian Community Church

Kid-friendly Trick or Treat party

6-8 p.m.

6:30 p.m. Kid costume contest

Alice’s Champagne Palace

Halloween Bash

10 p.m.-2 a.m.