Bob Collins of Arrowvale Farm and Campground checks on his passengers during a hayride at the farm on Sunday. Hayrides are happening again this weekend.

Halloween hijinx abound

Halloween in just around the corner and there is plenty of activities in Alberni this week for people of all ages.

Halloween is just around the corner and there is something planned for all ages this week. Don’t be afraid to get your scariest spook on or dig out your favourite costume to take part in one or all of the following events.

A free family-friendly evening happens at the Kiwanis Hilton Children’s Centre on Oct. 28. The annual Spooktacular is a popular one, offering a lot of opportunities to win prizes with a fish pond, a cake walk/pumpkin walk, a hockey shoot, a bean bag toss, bowling and more. Face painting and a dinner of hotdogs, pizza and goodies will also be available, with all proceeds supporting the Centre’s programs. It runs from 6–8 p.m. at Kiwanis Hilton Centre, 4325 Neill St.

The same evening Wood Elementary School is holding its Halloween Fun Fair. Starting at 7:30 p.m., there will be games, two cake walks and a concession stand to raise funds to purchase new playground equipment.

Organizers encourage costumes and suggest kids bring a goodie bag to collect treats from every game.

The staff at SteamPunk Café and Coffee House want the public to start thinking about jack-o’-lanterns. The coffee shop is hosting a themed pumpkin carving contest for the first time and have some prizes up for grabs for both contestants and voters.

The contest was the brainchild of barista Kennedy Wright to try to get more people into the spirit of Halloween.

“I’ve always loved Halloween and pumpkins are fun to decorate,” she said. “I wanted to get more people aware of steampunk because so many don’t realize it is a lifestyle genre.”

Steampunk is a mix of science fiction, fantasy and technology inspired by 19th-century steam-powered machinery.

The rules are simple: any gourd or pumpkin can be entered but must conform to the steampunk theme. They can be carved, painted, decorated with mixed media or anything else creative and imaginative. If you are not familiar with steampunk, a quick Google search will provide plenty of inspiration.

“It is a lot of industrial style and gears and metal,” Wright said. “It is older stuff from the ’40s and ’50s mixed up with the future.”

Finished pumpkins must be dropped off at the café between Oct. 27–29, where they will be on display for the voting public. The People’s Choice winners will be announced on Nov. 1 and prizes for first place include two branded t-shirts and a $50 gift certificate to SteamPunk Café; second place wins a $25 gift certificate and third wins a T-shirt.

“One lucky voter will receive a $25 gift certificate to the café so it’s worth it to come down and vote,” said employee Talia Jorgenson.

The pumpkin patch hayrides continue at Arrowvale Farm on Hector Road. Cancelled due to stormy weather earlier this month, the last weekend to take in a ride, pick out a pumpkin and have a warm drink and lunch is Oct. 29–30.

For the older crowd, the Zattzoo Project, renowned for its Five Acre Shaker fundraiser, is hosting a Monster Mosh Midnight Mixup Dance Party at the Rainbow Room on Sat. Oct. 29. Featuring DJ Kage, there will be prizes up for grabs for the best costume, best couple costume and other random prizes. It starts at 9 p.m. with a local band, and the dance party portion taking over at midnight.

The dance is part of the association’s ongoing fundraising efforts to host Battle of the Bands every May in memory of Zakk Coss. Tickets are available at Cloud City.

The Blue Marlin Inn is holding an adult-only party in the pub on Oct. 29. There will be live music, prizes for best costumes and drink specials.

On Halloween night, the hotel will open up the parking lot for trick or treaters and families to enjoy hot chocolate around a warm fire, music, hay rides, fire works and hot dogs.

There will also be prizes for best dressed. It runs from 6–9 p.m.

Port Pub is also hosting a party on Saturday, Oct. 29, with more than $500 in costume prizes.

On Sunday, Oct. 30 Sproat Lake Landing will host a family-friendly Halloween event. Kids can trick-or-treat at Drinkwaters from 5–8 p.m. Weather permitting, there are fireworks planned for dusk.

For a dose of healthy goodies before the sweet treats on Halloween Monday, Oct. 31, head down to Harbour Quay where the Art Matters Society is having a healthy, organic, peanut and tree nut-free party. After school, from 3–5 p.m. on Halloween day, there will be games and refreshments.

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