You can run for the pumpkins.
Or run from the zombies.
Deck yourself out as anything from a wild, wailing banshee to a grinning Cheshire cat.
If this is the year you’ve vowed you won’t wake up with a candy-corn bellyache, here are some festive alternatives to dipping into that plastic cauldron of sugary treats.
CONCENTRATE ON COSTUMES
In all her 60 years, Cathyrae Porter of Kingston can’t remember a Halloween when she didn’t wear a costume of some sort, not even when her grandfather’s funeral took place on Oct. 31. That year, her mother finally relented to Porter’s grade-school tears and put together a simple cheerleader outfit.
This weekend, during a Vintage Masquerade Gala at the Frederick Stegmaier Mansion in Wilkes-Barre, Porter will dress as a “White Rabbit,” accompanied by her husband the “Cheshire Cat” and her friend “Alice in Wonderland.”
“Last year it was so much fun,” she said. “One man was an undertaker with a real tall hat and cape. One woman was a beautiful forest fairy, like a wood nymph. She was exquisite.”
Porter also is looking forward to seeing the banshee outfit Stegmaier hostess Carle Welter put together. (She’s on today’s cover). It’s an example of a costume that could have been worn in Victorian times, Welter said, because it consists of various special touches added to a modest Victorian dress.
“The great thing about Halloween,” Porter said, “is it’s an imagination holiday. You can be a big kid and pretend to be someone else for the day.”
A GREAT PUMPKIN RUN
But if what you are is real life is an avid runner, why change that?
The Great Pumpkin 5K Halloween Run/Fun Walk, set for 10:30 a.m. Saturday at the Riverlands Recreation Area in Salem Township, gives you a chance to race a totally flat course. If you win or place in your age group, you get to choose a pumpkin from an assortment donated by a local farmer.
“You should see people making their choice,” race volunteer Margaret Livsey said with a laugh. “Some of them really take their time. You’d think they were picking out treasure.”
A ZOMBIE RUN
The prize at another Saturday race, the second annual Halloween West Side Zombie Escape Route 5K in Scranton, actually may be your deep sigh of relief if you outrun the “zombies.”
“They seem to position themselves just before the hills,” said Scranton tavern owner Jerry Haggerty, who participated in last year’s event.
Uh-oh. They sound like smart zombies.
The way it works, organizer Karin Foster said, is that each participant who wants to run from the walking dead gets several ribbons to attach to his or her waistband. The zombies try to snatch these “flags” from you as you run by.
SHIVER BY THE RIVER
If you have small children you’d like to entertain, you can introduce them to Shivers the River Cat. This new personality will make his debut at a “Shiver by the River” event from 6 to 8 tonight at the Millennium Circle on the River Common in downtown Wilkes-Barre.
Halloween tales will be told, children’s costumes will be admired, and you can bring a carved pumpkin from home to be judged. Of course, there will be some edible treats, too, said John Maday of the Riverfront Parks Committee, who has created a backstory for Shivers. “He was an abandoned kitten who makes friends with all the herons and egrets, everyone whose habitat is along the Susquehanna River, and then finds a home with a riverfront volunteer,” Maday said.
TIME WARP, ANYONE?
For movie buffs, the F.M. Kirby Center is devoting tomorrow to all sorts of seasonal films. The not-so-scary ones, “Ghostbusters” and “Young Frankenstein,” will be shown earlier in the day, followed by the more frightening “Night of the Living Dead” and the original “Halloween.” By midnight folks probably will stand up and stretch out the kinks in their legs by dancing the Time Warp during “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”
THINGS THAT GO BUMP … IN THE LIBRARY?
Members of the White Haven Paranormal Investigation and Research group are looking forward to their investigation of the White Haven Area Community Library on Wednesday, the night before Halloween.
Now why would a library be haunted, you might ask?
Well, even if there aren’t any librarian ghosts rearranging the books, this building used to be the Lehigh Valley Railroad engine-repair shop. There would have to be a lot of history there.
On its Facebook page, the group invites guests to bring digital cameras or recorders to the event.
And on its website, the group includes the following prayer, which does hint they are very serious about what they do:
“As we enter this place where impressions of the past are trapped and associations linger, let us do so with the assurance that we are guarded by the Power which proceeds from forthright and peaceful intent.
We envision a white radiance encircling us, fortifying us and protecting us from any harm or distraction in our purpose this day.”
OR IN THE MANSION?
Members of the NEPA Paranormal group, those folks whom you may have seen on the local TV show “Ghost Detectives” plan to appear at the Vintage Masquerade Gala at the Stegmaier. Has there been any evidence of ghostly happenings there?”
“We’ll find out,” owner Joseph Matteo said.