Happy Halloween!

After fielding dozens of festive pitches, writing spooky event briefs and organizing a calendar full of Halloween dance parties, it has become clear how much the North Coast community values this season.

The town of Astoria came alive – and brought back the dead – last week during three days of Haunted Astoria. The weekend was packed full of intricate costumes, unbelievably realistic plastic spiders and too much candy.

My Hallow-weekend kicked off at the Writer’s Showcase at Astoria Brewing Co., where members of the Astor Street Opry dressed in layers of black and presented dramatic short story readings submitted by community members. With ghostly white faces and chilling cackles, the event drew a decent crowd of all ages and helped start the celebrations.

The stories told tales from the 1800s of haunted buildings and familiar faces, leaving audience members with the question: “Did you know Astoria is home to many a witch?”

And though I couldn’t attend, I can imagine a number of those witches danced their night away at the Astoria Arts and Movement Center’s Halloween dance party alongside vampires, pirates and exotic animals from all over the world.

Another highlight included the annual Talking Tombstones presentation, during which the spirits of noteworthy Astorians revisited their grave sites at Ocean View cemetery.

Down the coastline in Seaside, a massive pumpkin was dropped from 40 feet in the air and spewed orange guts and tiny white seeds across the ground.

Though I’ve now seen more than two decades worth of Halloweens, I’ve never seen this many businesses, organizations and independent community members dedicate themselves so forcefully to enhancing Halloween for local residents – and the actual holiday has only just arrived.

So, happy Halloween everyone. Enjoy some candy, stay safe and embrace the creativity tonight and all year long.

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