Frightful delights abound during Haunting of Coupeville
— Created October 5, 2022 by Kathy Reed
By Kathy Reed
It is said that every October, the quaint, quiet town of Coupeville, nestled along the shores of Penn Cove on Whidbey Island, comes alive with a frightening, spooky spirit – of fun!
The annual Haunting of Coupeville is in full swing, complete with scarecrows, pumpkin patches, torchlight parades, haunted forts and much, much more. A full slate of Haunting activities taking place throughout the month can be found online at hauntingofcoupeville.com.
Pick a Pumpkin!
Already delighting guests of all ages is the pumpkin patch at Scenic Isle Farm (formerly known as Sherman’s Pioneer Farm) on Ebey Road in Coupeville. Don’t let the name change fool you – Scenic Isle Farm is still run by members of the fifth and sixth generations of Shermans and they are carrying on some well-loved traditions.
“Brandon and I have leased some of the family farm to carry on the pumpkin and Hubbard squash traditions,” said Alix Roos, who runs the farm with her husband, Brandon. “It’s the continuation of decades of pumpkin and pumpkin patch experiences that have been an integral part of the community’s fall celebration. We are excited! We have a four-acre pumpkin patch and the pumpkins grew exceptionally well this year.”
The farm is open every day in October from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and the trolley runs every Saturday and Sunday to shuttle guests to and from the pumpkin patch. Don’t worry – Roos said there are plenty of pumpkins to go around and plenty of varieties, too.
“There are all different sizes and lots of different varieties of specialty pumpkins,” she said. “There’s one called ‘One Too Many,’ that kind of looks like a bloodshot eye, one called ‘Mellow Yellow,’ there are ‘Ghost Whites,’ and some extremely large pumpkins.”
Opening weekend at Scenic Isle Farm was a blast, according to Roos.
“We had so much fun,” she said. “This is a place that brings a lot of joy. Kids come smiling and they leave smiling. Last weekend we had lots of first-timers. A lot of visitors said they’d never been to a real pumpkin patch before. This is an authentic patch, people get to get out, be on a farm and experience a real pumpkin patch. It’s part of what sets us apart.”
And picking the perfect pumpkin, as it turns out, is a matter of personal preference.
“I think it is in the eye of the pumpkin picker,” Roos said. “Everyone has their own unique way of looking at a pumpkin. Some want to be able to carry it, some want one that’s unique and goofy looking, and some adults are very particular about how a pumpkin stands up, how it might look on a table or a porch or a step. It just depends on whether someone is an artist, a kid or an adult who’s very decorative. It’s in the eye of the pumpkin picker.”
Plus, there’s more to find than just pumpkins at Scenic Isle Farm. Shoppers can find lettuce, spinach, potatoes, carrots and beets at the farm stand, in addition to some very special items.
“We’re starting to bring in the Hubbard squash,” Roos said. “It was a later season than we normally have. But we do have them in bins. And an even bigger tradition for our family is the Sugar Hubbard, the special heritage squash people are dying to get their hands on. They’re here and they’re ready. We also have Rockwell beans drying – we hope to have them available by mid to late October. That’s another heritage product for us.”
Roos said if the first Haunting weekend was any indication, the pumpkin patch is a tradition that will just keep growing. Check them out at scenicislefarm.com.
Meerkerk Gardens has joined in the Haunting of Coupeville fun for the first time. Meerkerk will celebrate Octoberfest and its fall plant sale Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Guests can enjoy live music from the Shifty Sailors and accordion player Lori Hansen in the gazebo, purchase a bratwurst from Dlux BBQ’s fire engine food truck, and enjoy strolling through a huge selection of 1-gallon rhododendrons ready to be planted.
“We have some beautiful fall color,” said Ron Newberry, publicity, outreach and events coordinator for Meerkerk. “We offer arboretum tours in early fall. Our woodland nature trails are ideal for fall hikes. Wildlife is abundant. The gardens are peaceful. The view of Puget Sound is spectacular.”
Admission to the gardens is $5; kids under 16 are free. Admission can also be paid in advance online, to allow guests to enter more quickly and get straight to the fun.
“Our Octoberfest is a mix of fun entertainment, wonderful food and a great opportunity to purchase rhododendrons and other plants during our fall plant sale,” Newberry said, adding guests will get 10 percent off their purchases Saturday. “We recently received a shipment of more than 1,300 beautiful rhododendrons in 1-gallon pots – just in time for the fall planting season. We’ll also be selling daffodil bulbs by the bundle. Lastly, we’ll be holding guided arboretum and forest bath tours on this day at no additional cost.”
While this may be the first time Meerkerk Gardens is joining the Haunting of Coupeville, Newberry said it likely won’t be the last.
“We’re honored to be participating in the Haunting of Coupeville,” he said. “We’re always interested in exploring new ideas. Next year, we’re considering adding elements and activities that would do just that, making it more of a family-fun event.”
Learn more about Saturday’s events at meerkerkgardens.org.
More Haunting Fun
For those interested in other events taking place during the Haunting of Coupeville, don’t be afraid – there is plenty going on.
This year’s Scarey-Crow Trail features scarecrows based on characters from scary movies. They can be whimsical, traditional or spooky. Maps are available at the Coupeville Chamber of Commerce, so visitors can tour the trail and vote for their favorite scarecrow at the Coupeville Library.
The Weary Bones Rest Stop Graveyard is a good place to take a break, although not all its residents are resting in peace. Find it next to the Chamber of Commerce.
For those who are brave, Haunted Fort Casey is a delightfully creepy adventure. This year’s event will take place from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Oct.22-23 and 29-30. Admission is $5 per person ages 4 and up and there are two sections – a family fun section appropriate for all ages, and the haunted fort portion, recommended for those age 12 and above. A Discover Pass is required for entrance into Fort Casey State Park. Proceeds from the event benefit restoration projects at Admiralty Head Lighthouse.
The Great Pumpkin Race will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 23 on Alexander Street, between Coveland and Front Streets. Handcrafted, decorated pumpkin race “cars” go pumpkin-to-pumpkin in this single-elimination style race. There is no cost to participate (just create your pumpkin race car) and prizes will be awarded.
The All Island Juried Art Show takes place Friday through Sunday, Oct. 28-30 at the Pacific Northwest Art School, located at 15 NW Birch St. Tickets to the Friday night social from 6 to 9 p.m. are $25 each. The free art show and sale continues Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. Visit pacificnorthwestartschool.org to learn more.
The ever popular Torchlight Halloween Parade and costume contest will take place at 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 29.
Great Community Pumpkin Party
For those who love creating fun and festive Halloween jack o’ lanterns, be sure to check out the Community Pumpkin Party, to be held from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 28 at the Meet Market, located at 7 Front Street.
This is a first-time Haunting event for the Meet Market, which opened Memorial Day weekend. The market is owned by Cade Roach and Andrew Ziehl, and is “part creative supply store, part community arts center,” according to Roach, who said they are excited to take part in this Coupeville tradition.
“The Haunting of Coupeville has always been our favorite town happening, so we were excited to create an event for everyone to participate in this year, now that we have a space to host,” they said. “Like a lot of folks, pumpkin carving has been a long-time tradition in our family, and to be able to share in that creative night with others is exactly what Meet Market is about.”
This community event is open to all ages and all abilities.
“We’ve pre-purchased enough pumpkins for everyone from Scenic Isle Farm to both carve or paint,” Roach described. “We’ll have live music in our cozy back patio space from amazing south Whidbey duo Puff N’ Scrubb, cider, snacks and Halloween crafts. Costumes are optional but encouraged!
“We want Meet Market to be a space where everyone can come feel inspired and collaborative with the greater community, while making organic connections with each other,” they continued. “Meet Market is a place where you can come hang out and make art anytime we’re open. We’ve got free supplies for everyone! We also host workshops and events led by creatives in the community, which are posted to our website and Instagram each month.”
There is a suggested donation of $5 per pumpkin, but people may also bring their own. All tools and other supplies are free. More details are available at meetmarket.org.
“There’s no greater place to be on Halloween weekend than downtown Coupeville,” Roach said. “It truly is such a magical town to live in, especially this time of year. And what better way to spend a Friday night in October than with a Halloween soundtrack and a pumpkin to carve (or paint!)?”