A host of local and regional Halloween and autumn events will take place during the month of October. From corn mazes to haunted pirate ships, from Halloween roller skating parties to crafts for children, Cayuga County and surrounding areas have something for everyone. Whether it’s adults, families or, in some cases, the family dog, Halloween and autumn events are as plentiful as the fall harvest. Here are just a couple of the events that will be going on this month.
Fantasy Fashion Witches Parade
Hundreds of witches — adult witches, child witches and dog witches — will march down Main Street in Fair Haven on Saturday, Oct. 22.
The Fantasy Fashion Witches Parade is a tradition that has been held in Fair Haven each year for at least six years, said Betsy Hughes, one of the directors of the Fair Haven Area Chamber of Commerce.
“We have probably 100 people,” Hughes said. “It grows larger than it was the year before.”
Hughes said the witch costumes vary greatly and many of them are unique, handmade costumes.
“They are quite original, a lot of them, really neat to see,” she said. “Some people have made their outfits out of black garbage bags, which are quite unique and some are quite a bit more elaborate. They’re very innovative.”
Hughes said those interested in being in the parade need only show up for the line-up in their costumes. She said children and pets are welcome to join the parade.
“It’s not only for the grown-ups,” she said. “It’s for the kids and the doggies, too.”
The parade will be preceded and followed by other Halloween-themed events. The day begins with a 7 to 11 a.m. pancake breakfast in the fire hall. The parade lines up at 11:45 a.m. at the corner of S. Fancher and Main streets before travelling down Main Street.
Starting at noon, the same time as the parade, games for children, food vendors, artisan booths, a car show and local authors will populate the Fair Haven Village Park. These activities will run until 4 p.m. Bob Riggio will perform music on the band stand from 1 to 4 p.m.
At 6:30 p.m., an end-of-the-year closing party will be held at the Pleasant Beach with a $10 buffet. John Cole’s Blues Band will play from 7 to 10 p.m.
“It has become an annual community event,” Hughes said. “It grows a little bit larger every year.”
Capt. Jack’s Haunted Pirate Ship
Rick Martinez will once again put on his pirate garb for a good cause on the last two Fridays and Saturdays of the month.
Martinez, of Auburn, has transformed into Capt. Jack Sparrow from Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean” films and has opened his self-built haunted pirate ship to the public for the last three years.
Martinez said the ship hasn’t always been as large and intricate as it is today. Six years ago, when he first built it to decorate his yard for Halloween, it was a facade only — until children began asking if they could go inside.
“I wanted to do something different in my side yard,” he said.
After he made the ship into a structure that children could walk inside of, he and his wife got an idea.
“My wife and I — a light went off,” he said. “She goes, ‘why don’t we do a food drive?’”
Martinez said they decided to ask for a donation of a canned good as admission into the haunted pirate ship. They began donating the food to the Calvary Food Pantry. As word got out and the ship became more popular, donations increased, too.
“It’s just snowballed to the size it is now, which I don’t mind because I enjoy it a lot,” Martinez said.
Martinez said 2,586 people came through the ship last year and more than 3,000 food items were donated to the pantry.
“It gives everybody a sense of community and helping out,” he said.
Martinez said collecting food to donate is preferable to collecting children’s money for admission, especially because some Halloween haunted houses, parties and other events can get so expensive.
Martinez said he typically gets visitors from age 8 to 80 and categorized the haunted pirate ship as “boo scary” rather than gory.
“We try to make it family friendly,” he said.
In addition to the ship, a witch’s shack, a graveyard, a haunted pumpkin patch, a zombie tunnel and a haunted bedtime stories tunnel also await visitors.