The Halloween festivities kick off this weekend in anticipation of the big night next week.
The fun begins today at 4 p.m. at the Soldotna Public Library, which will be hosting a Halloween party with a children’s story time. The event will include a costume parade and a cupcake walk, which librarian Linda McMilin said will be accompanied by scary music.
“When the music turns off, they’ll be standing on a number, and whichever one we pick will win a cupcake,” McMilin said. “We encourage adults and children to be dressed up. It’ll be a lot of fun.”
The Nikiski Recreation Center continues the festivities with an assortment of events, beginning Friday with its Teen Costume Party from 7 to 10 p.m. The party is for students grades 6 through 12, and for $2 admission. Attendees can show up in costume to engage in an array of “minute-to-win-it” games, according to Teri Langston of the rec center.
“There’s a prize at the end of the night for the best costume,” Langston said.
The Nikiski Rec Center will also host the Pumpkin Plunge, a free event for children ages 4 to 10, on Oct. 30 from 5 to 6 p.m. at the Nikiski pool. The Pumpkin Plunge will feature pool activities as well as dry land activities.
The final event of the week at the Nikiski Rec Center is the Trick-or-Treat Alley on Oct. 31 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Langston said the long hallways at the center will be decorated for the occasion and each doorway will have candy handed out in true trick or treat fashion.
“It’s a warm place for kids to trick or treat,” she said.
Saturday is the when the real fun begins, as numerous organizations across the central peninsula host a variety of events.
The Kenai National Wildlife Refuge will be hosting Spooky Seasons at the visitor center on Ski Hill Road in Soldotna, Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. Park ranger Leah Eskelin said the day will be a drop-in event for families to show up any time.
“The intention is to give folks the chance to know things that are weird, spooky or creepy, to get to know them better so they don’t think they’re so icky,” Eskelin explained.
Eskelin said it will be organized around the five senses, with touch, sound and visual stations set up to acclimate people to creepy crawly animals like spiders, earthworms, bats and owls. Eskelin added that it be a non-candy event, but costumes are welcome.
The Kenaitze Indian Tribe is also hosting a Saturday event with their Fall Harvest Carnival. The Yaghanen Youth Program will host the carnival from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Yaghanen Youth Center on K-Beach Drive in Soldotna. The event is open to youth ages 3 to 12 and includes games, prizes and food. Tickets are available at the door.
Also Saturday, the Boys & Girls Club is hosting Trunk-or-Treat 2018 in Kenai from 3 to 5 p.m. The event, which is free for all youth, will feature vehicles provided by the Boys & Girls Club that are decorated to the fullest extent and ready to hand out candy and prizes. Additional carnival activities will be featured inside the B&G gym.
The Kenai Community Library will also be getting into the spirit of Halloween with five days of its Literary Haunted House, which is in its third season. The special event runs Friday (10:30 to noon, and 3 to 5 p.m.), Saturday (2 to 4 p.m.), Monday (4:30 to 6 p.m.), Tuesday (11 a.m. to 12 p.m., and 4 to 6 p.m.) and Wednesday (11 a.m. to noon, and 3 to 5 p.m.).
Children’s librarian James Adcox said the “not-too-scary” haunted house has been a big hit the past couple of years, drawing more than 600 people in 2017.
“Each stop features a book that will have an interactive display,” Adcox said. “We’ll highlight specific books that are of a creepy nature.”
Adcox said this year’s selection will include Medusa’s character from “Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief,” a werewolf display from “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban,” and include the works “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea,” “War of the Worlds,” and R.L. Stein’s “Goosebumps” series. One of the displays will feature the Joker from the Batman comic book series.
The Literary Haunted House is free to all ages. Children under 10 must have adult supervision, Adcox said.
The Oct. 29 display will be preceded by a Special Halloween story time at 4 p.m., which is designed for children of all ages and will include songs around a fireplace setup.
Adcox added that a Day of the Dead celebration in November is also upcoming, with a Day of the Dead Sugar Skull wire sculpture class Nov. 8 at 4 p.m. Interested artists will be taught to sculpt an ornate wire design that celebrates the annual Mexican holiday.
Halloween night will also see the Anchor Point Senior Center host its own Trunk-or-Treat event from 4:30 to 6 p.m.
The Groundz Coffee Shop will also be hosting its own Trunk or Treat event on Halloween night from 4 to 6:30 p.m. in the Groundz parking lot, with a special emphasis on car trunk decoration, and a prize going to the best-dressed trunk.
The Soldotna Senior Center will also be hosting the Fall Craft Bazaar, an amateur art show and bake sale Nov. 2 and 3 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.