Thank You All for a Happy Harvest Halloween!

Thanks to everyone who contributed to the Harvest Halloween festivities at the Woodstock Community Center last Thursday evening just by showing up! Lots of Woodstockians were joined by folks from Mt. Scott-Arleta, Brentwood-Darlington, and other nearby neighborhoods. There were a lot of fun and fantastic costumes, and as far as we could tell, a great time was had by all! Photographer Michael Gary produced around 150 photo prints, and counted 248 different individuals in the images he captured, so we figure it’s safe to say at least 300 people turned out for the WNA party.

We’re very appreciative of Reed College for printing promotional materials at no charge (thanks, Kevin!) as well as our local UPS store. Special thanks to Papa Murphy’s and Michael Gary for helping distribute handbills, and to all the Woodstock businesses who displayed the poster in their window. Again, thanks to ALL our Event Sponsors.

Food and drink was plentiful thanks to Mezza, Otto’s, Tom Yum, First Cup, Papaccino’s, Safeway, US Bank, New Seasons, Lewis School, and the Woodstock Neighborhood Association. Thanks also to neighborhood permaculturist Marisha Auerbach for contributing to the decor by loaning a bunch of large winter squash, grown right here in Woodstock [a few of which were displayed at the foot of the mysterious Mr. Pumpsky (rumored to be a cross between the Great Gatsby and The Great Pumpkin)]. Marisha teaches classes for urban gardeners (advertised on Portland Permaculture Meetup) in case you’d like to learn how to grow squash like this (or other edibles) in your own yard…

There were a LOT of small squash and gourds at the event as well, 300 to be exact (WNA’s treat — sourced from Sauvie Island Farms): the 50 or so left over have now been passed on to Feast for Southeast‘s atmosphere coordinator. This reminds me: We also want to thank Woodstock Elementary for sharing two large straw bales leftover from their harvest party!

Special thanks to Woodstock bluesman Les Szigethy and fellow musicians, Dale Jones (on guitar, ukelele and vocals), and Ann Heney (on vocals and mandolin), who came together to form a new act especially for this event! Status Crow’s live acoustic performance of oldies and really goodies made for a lively atmosphere and even inspired some modest singing and dancing among partygoers. “Anytime!” says Les, and we plan to take him up on that!

Craft tables — pumpkin-scented playdough thanks to Southside Swap & Play and fall-themed rubberstamping and coloring thanks to neighborhood volunteer Ruth Williams — buzzed with activity. The O’Tingley-supplied cornhole boards were quite popular as well (and beautiful!).

Thank you Woodstock neighborhood volunteers! Though WNA party organizers Elisa Edgington and Becky Luening would liked to have had a more robust volunteer roster, when all was said and done a group of really AWESOME volunteers appeared to lend a hand. In addition to those mentioned above, we want to acknowledge Merrilee Spence for help with decorations and clean up, Janet Kneedler for help with nametags, decorations, and greeting duties, and Terry Griffiths for filling in, in numerous ways, throughout the evening. [At left: Terry readies prizes for beanbag-tossing vampires.] And it wouldn’t have been a WNA Halloween without Virginia Peterson, our amazing and apparently tireless Popcorn Witch! Thanks also to Kenny and Deb and their dog Dottie (masquerading as a fish) for taking a shift as greeters.

Out on the boulevard there was a whole lot more action! Big appreciation to all the businesses who opened their doors to trick-or-treaters, and to NET team members KD and Nancy who served as crossing guards to help keep kids safe after dark. [KD demonstrates their tactics in photo at right.]

By the way, in case you were too busy eating or dancing or being photographed to notice… WNA party organizer Becky Luening couldn’t resist slipping some tree-themed trivia into the WNA Harvest Halloween celebration, namely mustache “masks” made with double samaras, fruit of the common Norway maple (visible at bottom of photo at right), and a “how many horse chestnuts in the jar?” guessing game. Speaking of which…

Guessing Game Winner: There were exactly 99 horsechestnut conkers in that two gallon jar! Not one person guessed that number, but four people submitted a guess of 100! Of those four, one ticket was pulled randomly, and so the Grand Central one-loaf-of-bread-per-month-for-a-year gift certificate was awarded to preschooler Soren Holbrook! [Photo of puzzled flamingo cowboy snapped by Kenny Heggem.]

The Dutch Raffle was a good learning experience. We had some fabulous prizes to give away, but we found that the frenetic nature of the party and the focus on photos and crafts and music plus the transient nature of the event distracted from the raffle opportunity. (Many people came for a brief time and then left to go to other events or so they could be home to receive trick-or-treaters.) Nevertheless, we built some confidence in our ability to organize a raffle and will look for another occasion to try this again. In the course of the evening, of course, a number of people did buy raffle tickets, and all our winners were very happy with their prizes! 

Our Raffle Winners: