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MEEKER I Whether you just want to be entertained by little ones (and grown-ups, too) in costume, scare yourself silly, or just load up on goodies, downtown Meeker is the place to be this Monday, Oct. 31.
Start at the courthouse with the Eastern Metropolitan Recreation District’s annual Pumpkins Eats & Treats event, free for all ages, from 4:30-7 p.m. Fifth Street will be blocked off to traffic. Main Street will not be blocked off.
Carnival games, storytelling, a fire truck, and the parade of costumes and costume contest around the courthouse square will include new events this year: haunted houses at the old elementary school and a scavenger hunt. The two haunted houses will be open from 4:30-5:15 p.m. and from 6:15-7 p.m. There is one haunted house for the young (or squeamish) and one for the older (or fearless). Businesses will be handing out treats on the courthouse lawn during the same times as the haunted houses.
Participants in the costume parade/contest should line up at the tree near the stage at 5:15 p.m. (near the corner of Fifth and Main). The parade/contest will take place from 5:30-6 p.m.
Between 6 and 7 p.m. listen for scavenger hunt announcements. Groups will be led on a scavenger hunt through participating Main Street businesses.
Following the festivities at Pumpkins Eats & Treats, ghouls and goblins can make their way to view Antler Taxidermy’s annual Halloween display at 369 Market Street. Even folks who aren’t Halloween aficionados will be suitably impressed by Bill and Donna Willes’ world-class display of spooky stuff. “Headhunters’ Haunted House” (an appropriately ironic name for a taxidermist’s Halloween décor) takes the couple, and any volunteers they can round up, much of October to set up.
“It started as a little display on the front porch and each year it got bigger and bigger,” Donna said.
The faint-of-heart and the very young may be satisfied with a quick drive-by, but for those who enjoy a gorier version of Halloween, the Willes’ set-up is sure to please.
“It’s not a kiddy pumpkin patch,” Donna said. “If it’s not ghoulish and gory, it’s not in my yard.”
Teenagers, who are frequently discouraged from trick-or-treating, are welcome at Headhunters’.
“Oh, yeah, that’s the best,” she said. “The teenagers get the most frightened. They come here so cocky, and they are the ones who get scared.”
Without a doubt, the display, which fronts Highway 13 and takes up the Willes’ entire front yard, is difficult to miss. Stopping for a closer look is definitely worth the time (and elevated heart rate) it takes to check out the creative detail that has gone into the display. For your trouble, the Willes’ hand out treat bags for those who come through.
“We’ve had so many people at one time the police have had to direct traffic,” Bill said. “Even the hunters say they love coming out during this time of year.
“We make up 500 bags of treats, and we rarely give out less than 400,” Donna added. “It’s a fun night. The parents enjoy it as much as the kids. A lot of the parents dress up. People who came here as kids are now bringing their kids.”