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Who's Up for Some Halloween Fun?
By Heidi Anderson
It's October, and if you're a kid, that means Halloween, so the people of Noe Valley are once again buying those tiny candy bars by the ton and hauling pumpkins to the porch in honor of this big day.
Here's a guide for the kid (and kid-at-heart) for celebrating Halloween in our neighborhood.
Getting in the Mood
A good way to greet the Halloween season is to gallop over to Noe Valley's annual hayride on Saturday, Oct. 6, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The horse-drawn wagon ride is sponsored by the Noe Valley Merchants and Professionals Association, and is free. Hop on in front of the Walgreen's at Castro and Jersey, and take a slow-paced trot down 24th to Sanchez and then back to Walgreen's via Jersey Street.
Along with the hayride, the association is sponsoring its annual sidewalk sale. Several 24th Street stores will line the sidewalks with things to buy at prices that promise not to scare anybody.
As the Big Day draws closer, MikeyTom Market at Church and Day streets will be setting up the city's largest organic pumpkin patch, just like last year. Expect to see pumpkins piled high on MikeyTom's sidewalk by about Oct. 10.
Clouds will gather at the Randall Museum on Saturday, Oct. 27, but for the sake of fun and learning. "Stormy Halloween" is the theme for this year's festivities at the Randall, located at 199 Museum Way off Roosevelt above the Castro. Kids and their parents are invited to get swept up in creepy crafts, ghoulish games, and intricate pumpkin carving. Wear your costume (and you might want to bring an umbrella). For more information, call the Randall at 554-9600.
For those who prefer a more literary approach, the Noe Valley Library at 451 Jersey Street will highlight Halloween during its preschool story time at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 30. Costumes will also be de rigueur at the baby and toddler "lapsits" on Wednesdays at 7 p.m.
To get in the spirit, children's librarian Carol Small recommends you check out some new titles at the branch: Harriet's Halloween Candy by Nancy Carlson (ages 3 to 5); The Ghost with the Halloween Hiccups, by Stephen Mooser and illustrated by Tomie dePaola (6 to 8); The Adam Joshua Capers: The Halloween Monster, by Janice Lee Smith (6 to 8); and 175 Easy-to-Do Halloween Crafts, edited by Sharon Dunn Umnik (6 to 10). Call Small for more fall tall tales: 695-5095.
A Toy Treat at Just for Fun
On Halloween Day, which is a Wednesday this year, things get rolling around 11 a.m., when the little Uncle Sams and Power Puff Girls parade their stuff on 24th Street, stopping at shops along the way.
Noe Valley Bakery and the Ark are prepared, and so is Just for Fun, the stationery and gift shop at 3982 24th Street. The staff will hand out a small toy to each costumed child who marches by. St. Philip's School and Alvarado Elementary are expected to send several contingents.
"The school principals usually call me and let me know how many kids are coming," says Just for Fun co-owner David Eiland. "Then we check with our warehouse and find out what toy is 'in.' One year the kids all got small Teletubbies."
On Halloween night, Eiland plans to close the store about an hour early. But his staff will stay outside until 8 p.m., doling out toys to the evening visitors.
Up the street at Small Frys, shop owner Carol Yenne will be waiting for the tricksters with candy, which she promises will be yummy. "We've tried to give out healthier stuff, but really, the kids just want candy!" she laughs.
Real Food Company at 24th and Sanchez is gearing up to hold its sixth annual costume contest. All Rugrats and Invader Zims are asked to report to the store at any time on Halloween Day and have their picture taken. Costumes will be judged for the scariest, ugliest, and, of course, most original. Winners' pictures will be featured in the store's window the following week.
They're Jumpy at Upper Noe
At the other end of Noe Valley, at Day and Sanchez streets, Upper Noe Recreation Center will be hosting three different parties on the 31st. The little ones, ages 1 to 3, are invited to kick off the celebration at 10:30 a.m. Their party will feature a costume parade around the block and a visit to the "Jumpy House," a huge inflated funhouse perfect for bouncing around in.
Next, the Upper Noe Seniors will hold a carnival from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Recreation director Chris Borg says the group will sit down for a special Halloween lunch, bingo, games, and prizes.
Upper Noe will then be taken over by the big kids. From 3:30 to 6 p.m., 3- to 12-year-olds will have their chance at the Jumpy House, plus some games and prizes of their own. There will be a costume fashion show, and the whole thing will wrap up with a potluck dinner (hint: this is an excellent way to get some complex carbohydrates and protein into those tummies before they hit the streets cruising for sugar).
Tom Maravilla of MikeyTom, which is two blocks from both the Rec Center and St. Paul's Elementary School, says he expects at least 300 children to stop by during the day, and about the same number at night. There will be upscale candy, he says, but not anything necessarily healthy. "As if there is such a thing as healthy candy, really!"
One-Stop Witch's Brew
At the One-Stop Party Shop, on Church at 28th Street, owner Mardie Van derVort will set out her traditional witch and cauldron oozing with dry ice, at around 5 p.m. She is also planning a few surprises to make this Halloween extra-special. "We will to do whatever we can to make it a good day for the kids, especially this year," she says.
Not to be outdone, the folks up on Hoffman Avenue are proud to announce that their haunted-house tradition has blossomed into "Hoffman: The Haunted Street." Kids of all ages who venture along Hoffman from 22nd to 25th streets will be lured into several ghastly Victorians, some of which are actually haunted by Victorians.
Chiming in as usual with the Hoffman crowd will be the firefighters from Fire Station 24, at 100 Hoffman Avenue near Alvarado. The crew says they will be ready with treats from 5 to 8 p.m., for the first 300 trick-or-treaters.
What do you want to bet some Noe Valley spirits will make sure the firehouse has more than enough candy? Have fun!