Central Whidbey kicks off safe and spooky season
— Created October 7, 2020 by Kacie Jo Voeller
By Kacie Jo Voeller
The month of October will bring plenty of spirited, spooky and safety-conscious fun for all ages to the town of Coupeville. This year’s Haunting of Coupeville will highlight activities for the whole family, including a pumpkin decorating contest, ghoulish decorations throughout the town, festive farm visits and more.
Vickie Chambers, executive director of the Coupeville Historic Waterfront Association, said the organization will be putting on a Painted Pumpkin Contest, where participants will have the chance to take part in a virtual decorating competition.
“Certainly, we all want to have a little normalcy in our lives and to not have any events during a holiday is discouraging,” she said. “If we can create an alternative event that is safe and provides protection within the COVID-19 rules, we want to continue to do that, whether it is now or through the first of the year. So we are coming up with ways to participate in a holiday, yet keeping people distanced and safe.”
Chambers said although the town normally holds Pumpkin Races in October, the Coupeville Historic Waterfront Association wanted to hold an event which did not require gathering. The virtual contest will allow people to paint, carve or decorate a pumpkin at home and then drop it off on one of the hay bales throughout the historic district of downtown Coupeville between Oct. 14 and 28. Participants will be able to take a photo and upload it online at hauntingofcoupeville.com. Online voting will take place and prizes will be awarded for the top three pumpkins.
“It gives people something fun to do for the holiday,” she said.
Chambers said various Coupeville organizations are finding ways to celebrate safely. The Coupeville Chamber of Commerce has organized the annual Scarecrow Contest, which features creative scarecrows from local businesses that can be voted for online, and eerie downtown decorations, including a pun-filled faux graveyard.
“They still have the scarecrow corridor and graveyard,” she said. “Then, if we add the pumpkins all around, I think that just really adds a layer of enjoyment to the holiday.”
Chambers said the hope is to encourage people to continue to shop locally and enjoy the festive decorations and activities around town while staying safe.
“It is really important for us to remind locals that our shops are open and excited about having the local support so that they can remain open,” she said. “This is a hard time and we are going into the quiet season. And if the Whidbey Island residents think of all the communities and the small businesses within our communities and support them by shopping or visiting, that is critical to keeping our business culture alive and well, whether it is in Oak Harbor (or) all the way down to Clinton.”
Chambers said local organizations, from the Historic Waterfront Association to businesses, are working hard to come up with ideas to get people involved and safely celebrate holidays in the community. Chambers said locals can visit shops or stop by Sherman’s Pioneer Farm to pick the perfect pumpkin and go for a trolley ride.
“By inviting and creating activities this month or next month that are safe, yet it brings people into our communities, I think it helps remind them that we are open and we are here to accommodate their needs,” she said. “It is important for our whole island economy. And it gets people out of the house, it gets them away from the computer screen and gets them walking in the nice October air, and that is doubly healthy.”
Chambers said Whidbey business owners and organizations are working hard to continue providing services and plenty of spooky cheer while carefully incorporating necessary safety measures and social distancing.
“I believe Whidbey Island has really done a great job of following the mandates regarding COVID-19,” she said. “I know that the communities work hard at controlling gatherings, they work hard at distancing and complying with masks, so I am very proud of our business community because they want to do everything they can do to be safe yet open and ready for business.”