Scary Scenes

Front-yard frights

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

In past years, our 120-year-old Victorian in Bellingham’s York neighborhood has served as Halloween headquarters for a number of spooky soirees that have seen us festoon “Hell House” with disembodied heads, blood splatters, fake cobwebs interspersed with plenty of real ones, zombie cats and gratuitous gore designed to scare not only the kids who come trick-or-treating, but also anyone passing by in the weeks and days before All Hallow’s Eve.

This isn’t a typical October. In the midst of a global pandemic, nothing seems quite as frightening as reality these days, and thus I’ve found it hard to muster up the creative energy to transform our stately painted lady into a hall of horrors. Plus, knowing that mini-ghouls and goblins won’t be ringing the front doorbell to score candy and costumed partygoers won’t be doing the Monster Mash in the living room has really put a hurt on the holiday.

But all is not lost. I’ve recently become aware of a few Halloween-related events designed to connect community members even when they’re apart, including an inaugural York Scarecrow Throw-Down Contest taking place in my own neighborhood. I am currently looking into ways to transform bundles of leftover chicken wire and straw into a life-sized scarecrow/poultry hybrid, and hope to have it completed in time to take part in the freaky festivities. Info:

For inspiration, I can make my way to the border, where a Blaine Chamber of Commerce Scarecrow Contest is filling the windows of local businesses with scenes both spooky and silly. At Nimbus Real Estate Company, for example, a pumpkin-headed scarecrow reclining on a bale of hay while clutching a bottle of champagne is surrounded by spectral ghosts, witches on broomsticks, bats, spiders and cornstalks. It’s a worthy display, and one that manages to be both alarming and adorable. Info:

Meanwhile, the City of Ferndale is getting in on the action with a “City of Frightdale” Halloween Decorating Contest. With a directive to “hang those bats and drag out the coffin,” there are two ways people can participate in the interactive event—either by signing up by Oct. 26 to decorate their digs, or by traveling around the city visiting all the locales on the Frightdale map and scoring them as they go. Whichever route you choose, know that prizes will be available to those with the scariest decorations, and those who score five houses or more. “Explore your city, terrify your neighbors, and have a fantastic (and safe) Halloween,” organizers say. Info:

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