Trick or treating time

Some people take a silly approach towards Halloween while others prefer the day to be morbidly frightening

Executive director Kerri Milton of the Downtown Penticton Association is in the coffin surrounded by (left to right) Bev Tiel

Executive director Kerri Milton of the Downtown Penticton Association is in the coffin surrounded by (left to right) Bev Tiel

Some people take a silly approach towards Halloween while others prefer the day to be morbidly frightening. Either way, the collection of festivities in Penticton will appeal to any taste.

Before it’s dark enough to trick or treat on Oct. 31, Andy’s Animal Acres has a rich afternoon of traditional Halloween fun planned with the 101 Pumpkin Halloween event. Included with admission is a pumpkin for kids to carve, and there are enough for the first 101 in costume. The pumpkins will be judged under categories such as scariest and cutest, with admission passes for next year being awarded as prizes. Families are asked to bring their own carving tools.

There will also be apple bobbing, pony rides and a campfire to roast marshmallows and hot dogs. New this year will be professional face painting from Garden Pedal Designs.

“The face painting is a great opportunity as kids are getting ready for that night and often want their faces painted to go with their costume,” said owner Andrea Buyan.

The farm will be open on Oct. 31 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. and costs $7 per person or $45 for a family of four.

“It’ll be a fun afternoon, and then it gives everyone time to get home for dinner and then trick or treating,” she said.

Shortly after the 101 Pumpkin Halloween event will be the Downtown Penticton Association’s Trick or Treat on Backstreet, which runs from 3 until 7 p.m. Children will be able to get an early start on amassing their candy stash by trick or treating at the businesses downtown. Fifteen businesses have Halloween displays set up, and trick or treaters will be asked to vote on Penticton’s most popular pumpkin.

Trick or Treat on Backstreet was formerly known as the Zombie Walk, but to appeal to more families, the DPA decided to lighten to theme.

“There was consistent feedback that people wouldn’t bring their young children because they thought that was too scary,” DPA executive director Kerri Milton said.

Even though the name has been changed, the format of the zombie walk will continue in a similar fashion. Kids will be able to show off their costumes during the parade which begins at 4:30 p.m. at the corner of Wade Avenue and Main Street.

Before the parade starts, kids will be able to add flair to their costumes with free face painting at Nanaimo Square from 3 until 4:30 p.m.

Also, there will be prizes and many categories to evaluate the best costumes, include best pet costume.

At the southeast corner of Front Street and Main Street will be a haunted house for children who are brave enough to enter.

“We actually have two degrees of scary in the haunted house,” said Milton. “If a small child is coming through we have a code word so the workers know to tone it down. If we have a teenager or adult coming through, we have a different word to use which cues them to be scarier.”

For the older participants, “we have all kinds of scary techniques – they won’t even know what’s coming.”

“It’s important to get the people downtown and to show the community spirit that we have and the spirit the downtown merchants have to offer,” Milton said.

To take yourself through an even spookier haunted house – one that’s not recommended for children under 6 – Erik Laflamme and his wife are resurrecting a scary structure at their residence of 796 Eckhardt Ave E.

In continuing their tradition, they’ve wretchedly transformed their property and are inviting the public to walk through. While it’s not recommended for young children, there are still different levels of fear that will be delivered.

“If we know we have really scaredy cat little kids coming through we kind of tone it down a little bit,” said Erik Laflamme. “I radio the actors to be nice to the kids, but that doesn’t mean anything for the adults they’re with.”

Asked if there’s a maximum age to participate, Laflamme said there are no AEDs on site, but there will be staff trained in first aid.

“We’ve had little old ladies go through with their walkers.”

The cost of admission into the Laflamme’s haunted house is a discretionary donation that will support a local charity.

The house is open to the public from 6 until 9 p.m. on Oct. 30, and 6 to 10 p.m. on Oct. 31.

One Halloween event being planned exclusively for grownups is the Rocky Horror Picture Show Costume Night at the Penticton Legion.

Partygoers are asked to pick a character from the movie to dress as and embrace the weirdness of the cult classic. One side of the lounge will be a showing of the movie, and the other side will offer live music by the El Surf Cats, who will be performing tunes from the movie.

“It’s an underground kind of thing, but it’s just off the wall, said co-organizer Roger Carr, who’s also a member of El Surf Cats. “People will all be dressed like characters in the movie. While it’s playing they’re acting all the parts, it’s like a full audience cast.”

When the movie was released in 1975, Carr remembers seeing it with his friends at the Vogue Theatre in Vancouver.

“I watched the whole thing go down. At the time I thought it was just crazy madness,” he said. “People throwing toast and rice – it was a crazy party.”

To make sure rice and toast will be thrown around at the Penticton party, Carr said a swag bag will be given to everybody in attendance.

The show runs from 8 p.m. until midnight on Oct. 30. Tickets cost $15 and are available at the Legion and High Caliber Paw Brokers.eig