Halloween

While kids won’t be marching down Main Street this year, there is still plenty to do this Halloween. (Planet file photo)

How to build excitement for Halloween in a year where the CDC has labeled the traditional October holiday a “high-risk” event?

Leave it to those clever programmers at the Wilkinson Public Library, who will work their magic this (and every) season through storytelling.

Though traditional Halloween parties — and for that matter, trick-or-treating — are likely out, the library has assured the best parts of this faux-frightening annual rite of autumn remain: scary tales and (of course, for the younger set) candy.

“We’re trying, for sure,” said the Wilkinson’s Youth Services Manager Erin Hollingsworth of this year’s celebration. It starts the day before Halloween — on Friday, Oct. 30 — with not one but two Story Walk events along the river trail, for ages 0-5 at 10 a.m., and ages 5 and up at 3:30 p.m.

For the uninitiated, the Story Walk is a series of mounted panels bearing tales that change with the season. The first panel begins on Pine Street, at the entrance to the River Trail, and the final panel ends near the post office. As you stroll, the story unfolds, and the suspense builds. And what better season for a suspenseful tale than this one? But surprise: This season’s story carries an especially timely message for Halloween (or any time): how not to be too scared. “The story is called, ‘The Little Old Lady Who’s Not Afraid of Anything,’” Hollingsworth said. “It’s one of my personal favorites.”

Following the walk and the reading, there will naturally be treats. “Organizations, including Ah Haa, Pinhead, Bright Futures, the San Miguel Resource Center and other groups, will all have separate stations, where the kids can pick up individuall -wrapped goodies so everyone can stay safely distanced” (and parents, who are “strongly encouraged” to attend, can learn more about the ways this region’s nonprofits benefit local youth).

On Saturday, more suspense: There will be a Halloween film for teens on the Wilkinson’s patio, in a joint program sponsored by True North and the library. Not only will the film itself be suspenseful — this is, after all, All Hallows Eve — but there’s actually more drama to it than that.

“We actually don’t know what the film will be,” Hollingsworth said. “The kids get to decide. They can vote from a number of selections on True North’s Instagram page.”

Will teens choose the mildly creepy comedies “Ghostbusters” or “Hocus Pocus,” or the truly dreadful “Sixth Sense” (whose protagonist’s observation that “I see dead people” haunts this reporter to this day)?  Or something else entirely? The answer won’t be revealed until dusk Halloween night.

We do know it will be chilly out that night as well as chill inducing on the library’s patio. “Definitely wear warm clothes, and bring a blanket or sleeping bag to wrap up in,” Hollingsworth said. “We’ll have chairs. Masks will be required. And registration is required, because there’s limited room. Sign up at telluridelibrary.org.”

Youngsters aren’t the only ones enjoying haunted stories this time of year. Rich Fike, owner of The Museum of the Mountain West, outside Montrose, reports fielding droves of visitors who come not just during Halloween but all year long in search of one thing: a look inside the so-called Murder House, as the Travel Channel’s show “Ghost Adventures” dubbed it, on the museum’s grounds (the place may be the site of a murder-suicide, though the facts are shrouded in mystery).

“The episode first aired in November of 2018, when 1.1 million people saw it,” Fike said. “It’s been repeated at least 25 times. And now you can watch it anytime online.”

The catch is that the house needs to be restored, and the museum doesn’t have the funds to do that quite yet. So until those monies are raised, all visitors can do is gaze in the window. And so the suspense builds. As Fike told the Montrose Daily Press, “It markets the museum, that’s for sure.” Ghosts or no, the museum has earned a Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor. Learn more at museumofthemountainwest.org.