Hordes of candy-bent ghosts and goblins are expected to descend on Langley tonight.
City officials say the Village by Sea has become an increasingly popular trick or treating destination in recent years. If the trend holds true and the weather permits, police say they wouldn’t be surprised to see the city’s population nearly double with Halloween invaders.
“If it’s a calm night and not cold, I expected upwards of 1,000 people,” Police Chief Randy Heston said.
Northview is one of the neighborhoods visited the heaviest and with reason. Heston said it’s one of the safer places in town to walk around and residents tend to get into the spirit of the holiday.
“I think adults handing out the candy have as much fun as the kids,” he said.
Downtown is another must-not-miss area this year, especially for those with young children. Merchants have been busy decorating their stories and filling their candy bowls in preparation for this year’s Spooktacular Langley.
Sponsored by the Langley Main Street Association and the Langley Chamber of Commerce, the event aims to provide a safe and friendly forum for families looking to have some Halloween fun.
Downtown events are usually thrown to bring attention to the business district, particularly during the holiday shopping season, but Spooktacular is really about the children, said Marc Esterly, executive director for the chamber.
“The focus is for the kids; to have a safe place for them to come,” Esterly said.
About 50 merchants or organizations are expected to participate in this year’s event, handing out candy and good times. Some, such as Michele LaRue, the longtime owner of Big Sister, are feeling especially festive.
“This year we went all out on a window display that is creepy and fun,” LaRue said.
She’s got a pretty big bowl of candy, too.
Although similar events in years past haven’t had the best attendance, LaRue said participating merchants tend to have a lot of fun with the holiday. Some even come to work with costumes of their own.
“They love Halloween around here,” she said.
Trick or treating hours are from 2:30 to 5 p.m. All participating businesses will have a sign in their window. The Clyde Theater will also have a pre-movie costume parade in which all are welcome.
Finally, Main Street is doing something special this year at Thomas Hladkey Memorial Park. The old oak tree between the Doghouse and Brakenwood Gallery was recently decorated with festive winter lights and the switch will be flipped for the first time between 6 and 6:30 p.m.
“I hope it looks good; it may look like a Charlie Brown Christmas tree, I don’t know,” laughed Janet Ploof, president of Main Street.
The decorated tree is not meant to be a Christmas decoration, rather the idea is to bring about some winter-time cheer. Ploof thanked Cato Smith, Dan Waterman and other volunteers who were instrumental in getting the tree decorated.
Because so many people are expected to be in Langley tonight, Heston urged everyone to be especially cautious after dark. Kids should have flashlights or glow sticks to help make them visible when walking on roads.
Heston said he and at least one other officer will be patrolling Langley roads throughout the evening. And while he will be in a marked city police car, he joked that he may not always be easily recognizable.
“I may or may not be wearing a mask,” he laughed.
Langley’s top cop has been known in the past to temporarily done a Darth Vader mask. Halloween should be fun, he said, but there is a limit and every year there are a one or two real mischief makers on the prowl.
For example, business owners should be wary of any evening grocery runs by unusual customers, Heston said.
“If teenagers come in and buy and a couple dozen eggs, they aren’t making omelets,” he said.
Not only can eggs permanently mar a car’s paint but being hit by one can really hurt, he said.
“I love Halloween,” Heston said. “It’s fun, but I’m all about kids’ safety. That’s my number one priority.”