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Halloween: Nobody Does It Better Than Noe
By Laura McHale Holland
From its first crisp autumn mornings to its glowing jack-o-lanterns on Halloween night, October is a month of friendly and generous spirits in Noe Valley.
Treats Start Early
The treats begin this year on Oct. 5 with the Noe Valley Merchants and Professionals Association's sixth annual hayride and sidewalk sale. Hop on to a real horse-drawn wagon by Walgreen's on Castro Street at Jersey between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. You'll get a complimentary ride down 24th Street to Sanchez Street, down to Jersey, and then back to Castro. There will also be free hot chocolate and cookies for the kids. Organizers hope a mounted police officer will be on hand as well. The sidewalk sale on 24th Street begins at 10 a.m. and ends at 4 p.m.
As part of Fire Prevention Safety Week, on Oct. 12 from 1 to 5 p.m., youngsters can get a free trick-or-treat bag at any San Francisco fire station. Our local stations are Station 24 at 100 Hoffman Avenue and Station 11 on 26th Street between Church and Dolores streets. In addition to pencils, fire hats, and other treats, each bag will have tips on how to have a safe Halloween.
Entertainment to Make You Shiver
If it's Halloween entertainment you want, Carol Small, children's librarian at the Noe Valley Library at 451 Jersey Street, says she has two Halloween themed programs coming up. "One is a preschool story time on Tuesday, Oct. 22, at 10 a.m. That will be stories and finger plays. The other will be the lapsit on Saturday, Oct. 26, at 10:30 a.m. That's a program of stories, songs, and finger plays for toddlers and their parents. Everyone's invited to come in costume, and refreshments will be served," she says.
Small also has a couple of new picture books to recommend, Snow Pumpkin, written by Carole Lexa Schaefer and illustrated by Pierr Morgan, and Trick or Treat Countdown by Patricia Hubbard and Michael Letzig. The library is stocked with plenty of old favorites too.
How about something supernatural? Master magician and mind-reader Jay Alexander will be doing a show called "Halloween Magic" on Sunday, Oct. 20, from 11 a.m. to noon at the Randall Museum, 199 Museum Way. Tickets are $7 per person; under 2 years old are admitted free. For tickets call 510-236-SHOW, or visit www.TheBuddyClub.com.
The Randall Museum is also having its 65th anniversary bash on Oct. 26 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. And it promises to be spooky and fun. "All the rooms and our newly finished outdoor learning areas will be decorated in original Halloween themes," says Julie Dodd Tetzlaff of the museum staff. "We'll have special Halloween carnival games to play, and kids can win prizes. The staff and many visitors will all be in costumes, and giant puppets will be roaming the grounds. We'll have live music with Jackie Jones and a dancing cat, and storyteller Michael Katz will tell ghost stories."
Cover to Cover Booksellers on 24th Street near Church is turning the store into a haunted house from 6 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 30. "We're going to have ghost stories, and we'll have a special treat for anyone who shows up in costume," says owner Tracy Wynne. "And if anybody knows any good Noe Valley ghost stories, they should bring them by the store that evening."
On Oct. 31, Upper Noe Recreation Center at Day and Sanchez is hosting a Halloween carnival in the gym. "We'll have game stations, prizes, and refreshments, and there's no charge," says Chris Borg, recreation director. "Kids should wear costumes, and we'll have a parade, and probably a bounce house. We'll also have a storyteller in a haunted alcove."
The event goes from 3:30 until dark and is for all ages. Younger children should come with adults. "We also have space in our Tiny Tots program for 3- to 5-year-olds," says Borg. The Tiny Tots will have a party on Halloween as well.
A Haunted Street
And once again Marilyn Anne Lucas, who has been our neighborhood's "Haunted House Lady" in various guises and locations for the past 23 years, is helping to organize some good safe fun for children on Halloween. From 6 to 8 p.m. on Oct. 31, Hoffman Avenue from 22nd to 25th streets will become "Hoffman the Haunted Street."
In the 300 block of Hoffman, Lucas is putting together the world's largest rattrap and creating a story to go with it. "Come find out why the San Francisco giant valley rat grows so large, and come see it in its natural urban habitat," Lucas entices. The 200 block of Hoffman will feature the ghost of a long-dead fortune teller, ready to reveal the fortune of anyone who dares to ask.
Then, of course, there are all the merchants and neighbors who will have buckets of candy waiting for little goblins and princesses and superheroes to dig in. So remember, young people, when you go out after dark, it's a good idea to wear reflective tape on your costume, bring a flashlight, and if you're smaller than a giant valley rat, bring your parents too.