PUBLISHED: 5:55 PM on Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Haunted Ghost Town Party gets 'spooky' in Ketchikan
KETCHIKAN - It was a dark and misty night, and haunted ghosts and ghouls crept stealthily through the streets, as children ran to and fro. Nothing gets better than Halloween as we all enjoy flowing amounts of cavity-inducing candy, donning gruesome masks and silly costumes and participating in themed festivities.

This year, Ketchikan is enticing the community with the first Haunted Ghost Town Party and Scavenger Map Challenge event, taking place from 5-11 p.m. Friday, Oct. 26.

For the past 22 years, the All City Halloween Party has taken place in Ketchikan.

This year the group, which organized the annual party, disbanded and the lead, Lisa Machado, informed Leslie Swada, education specialist for the U.S. Forest Service stationed at the Southeast Alaska Discovery Center, of the news. Machado also donated a scary maze for SADC's Haunted Rainforest.

Taking initiative, Swada took on the role of event coordinator, to carry on the Halloween tradition.

Photo by Elizabeth Flom
  Jeff Garnette portrays a logger's ghost in a Ketchikan haunted house.
"My supervisor, Tim Fisher, and I both realized this was a great opportunity for the Discovery Center to outreach to the community and ask other downtown organizations and businesses to get involved," she said.

Beginning at the Ketchikan Visitor Bureau, participants can pick up a scavenger challenge map and begin the journey into the haunted streets of downtown. The first 500 children to visit KVB will receive a free trick-or-treat bag.

At seven different locations, participants can get their map stamped and win one out of three prizes. Instructions indicate six out of seven stamp locations to win a prize.

At each location, a different party theme is offered for entertainment.

Most locations will offer treats and refreshments.

Visit the pirates at KVB, and look for the "pirate wench" to get your map stamped.

Participants can enjoy spooky stories told by the book wizards at Ketchikan Public Library; the first 100 children receive a free pop-up book by Maurice Sendak donated by First Books-Southern Southeast.

At Ketchikan Area Arts & Humanities Council draw a face and on free small pumpkin and make it come alive. Pumpkins are donated by Carrs Safeway of Ketchikan.

Photo by Elizabeth Flom
  Julie Rowe plays the Wicked Witch of Southeast as a girl watches.
Talk with gold miner's ghosts and meet Sasquatch, Kushtakaa and Devilfish in the Haunted Rainforest exhibits at the Southeast Alaska Discovery Center.

Sasquatch lurches amongst the trees, Kushtakaa lives in the Native Traditions room and in the ecosystems exhibit Devilfish undulates in the waves.

Receive a tattoo, have your fortune told and be amused with games and treats. For the next stamp, find the wicked witch of Southeast Alaska.

This program is recommended for children 12 years old and younger that are chaperoned by an adult.

At Salmon Landing, find "which Witch is which" to get your stamp.

Visit booths from the following organizations: Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Ketchikan General Hospital Employees Association, Ketchikan Youth Football League and the Lions Club.

For a chainsaw-rip-roaring scary time at the Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show, visit the Ghoulish Graveyard in the Company Store and find the "battle-ax" to get your next stamp.

It's an Insane Asylum Haunted House at the Coast Guard Base Gym, held by the Integrated Support Command and the Ketchikan Fire Department.

The cost is $5 per person or visitors can bring a canned good and get in for $3; handicap accessibility is limited. Youngsters can visit the free graveyard in the parking lot to get their final stamp.

For a less scary time for children, visit between 6-8 p.m. The haunted house is not recommended for children under 10.

At every map location, participants can drop off their stamped maps with contact information in provided drawing boxes.

Three maps will be chosen, and winners will be notified preceding the event.

Prizes will be available at the Southeast Alaska Discovery Center for pick-up.

"The most exciting thing about this event is feeling the energy and involvement as the community works together," Swada said.

As far as ghosts haunting the town after Halloween, lingering hints of cackling laughter and howls of spooky pirates may be heard for days to come.

"In Ketchikan we have two seasons! During the summertime hundreds of thousands of migrating souls visit and in the winter season only resident souls remain," she said.

For more information contact Leslie Swada at 907-228-6247 or e-mail