Tonight is the last night to cavort with the historic haunters of the Howard Preserve. Tickets are a mere $7.50 but must be bought in advance at The Bead Shop, Mahoney’s or Splash and Dash.
Express photo by Roland Lane
Haunted attractions abound this week as the annual parade of Halloween creativity yields the most variety ever seen in the Wood River Valley.
Whether you are in it for the candy, the costumes or the excuse to act young, there is something for everyone this year.
Tonight, Oct. 30, is the night for the Bellevue Haunted Forest but, if you don’t already have tickets, chances are slim of getting in, though organizers do hold back a few tickets for gatecrashers who make it early.
The forest that in the daytime is the scenic Howard Preserve behind Mahoney’s Bar and Grill is taken back to the gritty 1880s when the infamous Minnie Moore Queen of the Hills silver and lead mines drew enough interest for a townsite to begin.
According to the history provided by organizers, many people converged in this area with desperate dreams of getting rich in a new country filled with opportunity. Some of them found that wealth, but many others only found hard weather, hard work and hard times.
The Chinese immigrants were the primary workers of the mines. Along with the mining industry, opium made its economic mark on the territory, bringing with it chaos, madness and mayhem in the underground world.
The meadow on the west side of the canal is the site of an old city dump and “unofficial graveyard” and the gallows were located just south of the graveyard. These gallows were known to be the site of more than 200 hangings.
Just northwest of the meadow, a very successful “house of ill-repute” once operated. Here, as times grew worse, darkness prevailed. Local thieves, pirates and murderers would await the immigrants returning from the mines with their silver who stopped at the house on their way down the river. Many more than were ever known died here. Some were tortured, murdered and given a shallow grave.
In the decades since, the forest has long been known as an area teeming with the supernatural. Over the years, the forest itself has taken on its own evil entity, as it continues to attract darkness and “otherworldly” things. Many things have been seen; many stories have been and are yet to be told.
Tickets are $7.50 and can be bought at The Bead Shop in Hailey, and Splash & Dash and Mahoney’s, both in Bellevue. Proceeds go to the Friends of the Howard Preserve.
Even if you don’t get in, you can get close enough to hear the screams and enjoy the Sun Valley Ballet performing “Thriller” at the Elm Street Gate.
On Halloween night, try Trunk or Treat at 6 p.m. around Bellevue Memorial Park.
Hoopla in Hailey
The eighth annual Hailey Halloween Hoopla continues the fun Thursday, Oct. 31, from 3-6 p.m. around downtown Hailey.
The city’s businesses invite everyone to put on their best costume and hit the streets of Hailey for a Trick or Treat extravaganza. Hailey businesses will hang black and orange balloons outside their business to show they have treats inside waiting.
The Liberty Theatre will host the festive costume contest in half-hour intervals, for all ages at any time. Winners of the costume contest will be given “Chamber Bucks,” which can be used at any Hailey business.
McClain’s Pizzeria invites all witches to the fourth annual Witches Tea during the hoopla. Music and entertainment will be supplied by Music n’ Me of Hailey.
The Haunted Kitchen offers spooky hot dogs, chips, and drinks in “spook alley” between Jane’s and The Mint—$1 covers dinner for little ones in costume.
Musician Johnny Valenzuela and friends bring back the Deadshow, a Grateful Dead tribute, starting at 8:30 p.m. at the Sun Valley Brewery in Hailey. There’s no cover. Even those who have seen Valenzuela, Chip Booth, Lee Chubb, Sean Jackson and Peter Heekin in shows this summer will find surprises and new songs.
Live music in Ketchum
On Halloween day, Thursday, Oct. 31, Old Death Whisper will perform live at Whiskey Jacques’ saloon. Doors open at 9 p.m. The cover charge is $5. Revelers can participate in a costume contest with lots of prizes at midnight.
The Nightmare on Main Street returns to downtown Ketchum on Oct. 31. Main Street will be closed from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. Doc Rock & DJ Alien with DJ Locomotive will perform on Main Street from 8-11 p.m. Children can trick or treat from 5-9 p.m. at local restaurants and businesses.
There will be a kids costume contest at 8 p.m., with categories for Best Girl, Best Boy and Best Overall. An adult costume contest is set for 10 p.m., with categories for Best Male, Best Female, Creepiest, Sexiest, Best Group and Best Overall.
Halloween by the numbers
Annual Halloween consumer spending: $7 billion.
Average amount spent on Halloween: $72.
Average amount spent on candy: $21.05.
End it right
Take leftover pumpkins to the Sawtooth Botanical Garden south of Ketchum on Saturday, Nov. 2, from noon-3 p.m. and do some pumpkin chucking. $5=2 chucks from the new, larger catapult. Build your own and bring it by 11 a.m. for a safety check.