Out-of-Stater Visits Halloween Happenin’

To the Editor:

(Bouckville, NY – Nov. 2012) He drove along Route 20 through Bouckville, heading east. “What’s going on there?” he asked, and stopped at the little brightly lit cottage next to the sign, “The Chenango Canal.” There, he worked his way around chattering children to ask the woman they were gathering around, and repeated, laughingly, “What’s going on? I’ve never seen anything like this.”

The children waited for prizes or directions for the Clues Hunt and the man waited.

“This is great,” he said. “Wow! I was driving by and saw all the lights, the children, the stopped traffic and had to see what this was all about. I’m from Ohio, and I think this is just great. Keep up the good work. Awesome!”

Going out the door, he repeated, “Wow, this is great! Look at those pumpkins all lit up!” pointing to the tiers of cut-out, piled-high pumpkins, like totem poles, along the driveway.

And that’s the opinion of a stranger from Ohio, about the Chenango Canal’s Halloween Happenin’ in Bouckville Oct. 13.

That made me feel good, with all the work and support provided to the Chenango Canal Association by businesses and friends to set up the event: EDP Renewables, Colgate Bookstore, the Kountry Kupboard, Dunkin Donuts, Price Chopper, Kinney Drugs, Town of Madison, Terry Signs and, thankfully, volunteers from the Oriskany Falls Rotary Club. Volunteers from Madison Central School, the Madison Honor Society, Colgate University’s Clean Water Coalition at COVE and many friends made the event “come alive” to haunt the trail, led by the creativity of Dode Page from Black Cat Antiques, Earlville.

Little children looked forward to the yearly Clues Hunt, a story to lead them to continue the story to different life-sized cut-out figures, painted in the style of an illustrated children’s book. There was Captain Hook, Bambi and Thumper; Snow White and the Seven Dwarves and more. Little children ran from figure to figure, their mothers and fathers following, flashing pictures up and down the trail, calling out to little princesses and ballerinas, in their sparkly pink and blue costumes; little warlocks, Iron Man and G.I. Joes, whose faces were painted with green and brown camouflage. Many won prizes.

The last clue ended up with “ohs” and “ahhs” at the “pretty petting zoo,” animals brought there by the Heritage Farm. The tiny baby pig was held lovingly inside the woman’s coat to keep it warm; mama and baby goats tied to the auto and nibbling at the grasses around. All the kids loved petting them and exclaiming, “Look! It’s Peter Rabbit!” They ran to the huge fluffy bunny in its own cage, nose wiggling “hellos” to everyone there.

Then, the children went inside the Canal Cottage for their prizes, on completing the Clues Hunt.

There were food and cider and games to play on the fishing deck. There were movies shown in the “morgue.” Most were funny, the real scary ones were left for older children later.

Then, after dark, those older youngsters and adults, even youngsters if taken by adults, entered the story teller’s tent to hear this wicked-looking woman tell frightening tales of Halloween. The scariest part of the Halloween Happenin’ was a guided walk down the darkest part of the trail.

I’m told there were spooky things that jumped out at them; horrible faces peered over the hand-built wall, ghosts, skeletons, all of the worst kinds of Halloween scares. Horrible noises…there were screams from all around.

This, I was told and did not see, as I was not brave enough to enter the darkness at the end of the tunnel, the ending of this year’s Halloween Happenin’.

Helen Lundt and Diane Van Slyke, Chenango Canal Association, Bouckville

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