A full day of events is scheduled in downtown Arlington on the Saturday before Halloween.
The annual pumpkin carving contest will again be held at Arlington Hardware & Lumber, located at 215 N. Olympic Ave. Contestants are encouraged to drop off their decorated pumpkins and register on Friday, Oct. 25, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., or Saturday, Oct. 26, from 7-10 a.m. Judging of the pumpkins will take place on Oct. 26 at 11 a.m., with a drawing for a bicycle.
Arlington United Church is hosting a "Harvest Party" on Oct. 26 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The church is located just east of Olympic Avenue, at 338 N. McLeod Ave. For more information, log onto www.auc1.org.
The Downtown Arlington Business Association is sponsoring trick-or-treating along Olympic Avenue, at participating businesses, that same Saturday from noon to 1 p.m., with a costume contest to follow at Legion Park at 1 p.m.
"It's very generous of the downtown businesses to host the trick-or-treating event each Saturday before Halloween," said city of Arlington Recreation Manager Sarah Lopez, who sadly confirmed that this year's pumpkin roll and pumpkin pie contest have been cancelled due to a lack of sponsors. "It gives the kids an additional opportunity to show off their costumes, and parents can see what businesses along Olympic Avenue are up to. Members of the Arlington Arts Council will be judging these costumes, and providing pizza certificates for first place in each category, while the city will provide ribbons for every contestant, from babies to adults."
The Mirkwood Shire Café at 117 E. Division St. is staging its fifth annual "Zombie Ball" at 7 p.m. on Oct. 25-26, with tickets running $10 each.
The Arlington High School Future Farmers of America will also get into the Halloween spirit with a "haunted house" on Oct. 25-26, from 6:30-9:30 p.m. on both days, in the AHS greenhouse. Adults pay $5, while kids 12 years and younger pay $3.
On Sunday, Oct. 27, the Medallion Hotel at 16710 Smokey Point Blvd. will serve as the new site for the return of "Trunk or Treat" from 4-6 p.m.
For more information about these events in Arlington, please call the recreation office at 360-403-3448, or log onto www.facebook.com/arlingtonwa.
While the aforementioned Halloween-themed community events will kick off during the weekend before Halloween itself, the Downtown Marysville Merchants Association will be commemorating Halloween on Oct. 31.
From 4:30-5:30 p.m. that Thursday, participating merchants on Third Street will dress up for the occasion and hand out candy to trick-or-treaters for free.
"It's great for kids who are toddlers up to 10 years old, and their folks," said Mary Kirkland, owner of Hilton's Pharmacy on Third Street. "You don't have to line up in any particular order, either. Just come on by and enjoy."
Kirkland noted that a number of businesses on Fourth and Second streets, the latter including The Vintage Violet, will also be taking part in the afternoon's activities, during which time she expects to see several of her fellow merchants following her example by donning their own costume finery to greet the children in the spirit of the holiday.
"The event is always fun and casual, with lots of darling young children and their families on the sidewalks, some out for their first Halloween trek," Kirkland said. "At Hilton's, we're even going with a theme again this year, but we're keeping it under wraps until the big day."
Kirkland advised trick-or-treaters that they might also find some candy on the west side of State Avenue, just across the intersection from Third Street.
"The downtown merchants are also sponsoring a coloring contest, from now until Halloween," said Kirkland, who pointed kids and families alike to the Downtown Marysville Merchants Association website at www.marysvillemerchants.com for the picture that they can color, which is also available at any DMMA business. "Children from ages 2-12 years are invited to color the Halloween picture, drop it off at any Third Street business, and be entered into the contest to win two movie tickets, if they win first, second or third place."
Besides on-street parking on Third Street, families can find extra parking on Columbia Avenue and Second Street, as well as limited parking in the Carabinieri Espresso Bar parking lot.
The Marysville Care Center's annual "Trick-or-Treat Street" will also take place on Thursday, Oct. 31. Enterprising trick-or-treaters who still feel like filling up on candy after visiting Third Street can swing by the Marysville Care Center at 1821 Grove St. from 6:30-7 p.m. for their haunted house, games and more.
The Marysville Rotary's "Pumpkins for Literacy" pumpkin patch, at the Plant Farm at Smokey Point, will run through Halloween, to give local families a chance to pick up their choice of jack-o'-lanterns. Their pumpkin patch is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Field trips to the Plant Farm at Smokey Point can be scheduled through Toni Mathews at the Marysville branch of the Whidbey Island Bank, by phone at 360-657-3100 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Plant Farm is located at 15022 Twin Lakes Ave. in Marysville, and is online at www.theplantfarm.com.
Third-generation farmer Gary Biringer and his wife Julie have replaced the former Biringer Farm Pumpkin Patch with the Black Crow Pumpkin Patch, located at 2431 Highway 530 in Arlington. Their pumpkin patch is open daily through Halloween, from noon to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday, and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. Biringers' first-ever doggie costume contest is set to kick off at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 26. Tours can be arranged by appointment by calling 360-435-5616 or emailing Biringersblackcrow@outlook.com. For more information, you can "like" the Biringers' Black Crow Pumpkin Patch and Corn Maze on Facebook at www.facebook.com/biringers.black.crow.
Foster's Produce and Corn Maze, located at 5818 Highway 530 NE in Arlington, is also welcoming visitors through Thursday, Oct. 31. The giant pumpkin patch will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Sufficiently brave souls are invited to play in the spooky Night Maze and Giant Pumpkin Hunt from 5-9 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 26, although they should bring flashlights. Call 360-435-6516 or email email@example.com for more information or to make reservations. For further details, log onto www.fosterscornmaze.com or www.facebook.com/pages/Fosters-Produce-Corn-Maze.