For a holiday that started as a remembrance of the dead, Halloween this week in Homer looks to be pretty darn lively. There’s something for every age, whether you’ve been planning your costume for months or your trick-or-treating days are long over.
The Pratt Museum’s fantastically freaky show, “Museum Macabre: Darkest Secrets of Kachemak Bay,” closes Saturday night. If you’re hoping that “creepy” will accurately describe your holiday, silver bullet casting molds from the werewolf outbreak of 1934 and impaling stakes from the vampire wars of the ’70s, among other relics, await you at the exhibit, which is free all day Saturday. The musuem will also host trick-or-treating at the Homestead Cabin from 4 to 6 p.m.
Spookier still is the annual fright-filled tour of the Coast Guard Cutter Hickory. The boat’s crew has prepared terrifying decorations for two different age groups today: toned-down tours for younger visitors and the easily spooked from 4 to 5 p.m., and an all-out scare fest from 6 to 10 p.m. for visitors teenaged and up. The event is free, but visitors are asked to bring canned goods to donate to the Coast Guard’s annual food drive. Last year, 1,100 people visited the haunted ship, donating 3,100 pounds of food to the Homer Community Food Pantry.
“The Haunted Hickory is undoubtedly the best time of year for the crew — not only can we give back to the community, but we also have the greatest opportunity to terrify our friends and loved ones, without fear of repercussions. Happy Haunting, Homer!” says Petty Officer Third Class Brandon Mitchell.
If you’re in the mood for something more relaxing, the Homer Ministerial Association is hosting its Harvest Carnival at the Christian Community Church from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Saturday. The event will have firetrucks, games, bounce houses, free hot dogs and candy. CCC Pastor David Taylor says the festival provides a safe, warm environment for families to celebrate the entire fall season.
Then there’s costume madness: all week through Halloween night, the Otter Room at the Best Western Bidarka Inn is posting photos of patrons in costume on the walls. Both kids and adults can vote for their favorite and the winner will receive a prize next week.
On Satuday night, the Homer Theatre is getting in on the holiday action with a 9 p.m. showing of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. The cult classic that launched Tim Curry and Susan Sarandon’s careers turns 40 this year. Tickets are $12 and can be purchased at the theater or the Homer Bookstore. Prop bags will also be on hand for $3 so you can do the Time Warp in style.
If you’re among the over 21 crowd, several local establishments will be hosting Halloween events on Saturday night. Los Holy Santos Gang is playing at the Kharacters Halloween Arcade with fellow performers Team Danger. At Down East Saloon, Lee Gattenby and the Freelancer Band will take the stage at 9 p.m., and the costume contest will come to a close with a cash prize for the audience’s favorite at midnight.
If you’re no longer really a kid but not yet welcome in Homer’s bars, the Elks Lodge is the place to be on Saturday. Sponsored by the REC Room, the “Trick or Chill” dance runs from 8 p.m. to midnight and is open to Homer residents aged 14 to 20. Come in costume and tickets are only a dollar; otherwise, they cost $3. It’s an alcohol-free event.
With myriad ways to observe the holiday, for some the best is the simplest: good old-fashioned trick-or-treating. As in years past, Bayview and Mountainview avenues will become one-way roads from 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday to provide safe routes for kids in costume. Traffic will flow west on Bayview and east on Mountainview. Exceptions can be made for residents trying to get home, but Adele Person, who orchestrates the traffic extravaganza, recommends that people park and walk to trick-or-treat.
More than 350 candy collectors followed the route last year.
Young residents are also invited to trick-or-treat at the South Peninsula Hospital Long Term Care from 4-7 p.m. Saturday.
And in a week, when Halloween’s most memorable souvenir is a candy-fueled stomach ache, bring the excess of your sweet stash to the Rotary Health Fair at Homer High — on Nov. 7 — where kids 10 and under can trade candy for prizes. Contributions will be sent in care packages to U.S. troops overseas.
For more info on how local schools are celebrating Halloween, see page 9.
Some people write Halloween off as tacky; some aren’t into the holiday’s morbidity. And some just don’t like costumes and candy. But to be scared is to be reminded that we’re alive, and to put on a costume is a nudge not to take ourselves too seriously. As the leaves from alders and mountain ash around town hit the ground and the natural world readies for winter in a final blaze of glory, we remember that death is part of life and life is something to celebrate.
So however you spend Saturday night, be safe and make merry.