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Island goblins go bats

Korey Roberts, left, and Chris Kaik, center, stay out of the way of an electronic bat after collecting their candy from Erin Simms, right, at her Langley home Halloween night. - Matt Johnson
Korey Roberts, left, and Chris Kaik, center, stay out of the way of an electronic bat after collecting their candy from Erin Simms, right, at her Langley home Halloween night.
— image credit: Matt Johnson

If the candy-delirious crowd of trick-or-treaters was smaller than usual Halloween night, it was almost impossible to see on Langley’s streets.

Clearly the epicenter of costumes, kids, and “fun size” candy Wednesday night, the city was crawling with giggling ghouls, cute costumed kids, and even a few slightly-embarrassed teens exploiting a holiday designed for children with ages in the single digits.

The place to be for about two hours during the evening was Sixth Street. On a night that was as much about being seen as collecting sugar, no behavior was considered too silly. Confronted by a battery-powered bat that flew on the end of a string at one Sixth Street house, Jimmy Cooley could not help but fake fear in front of trick-or-treating buddy Sam Denka. Standing stock still with his arm outstretched toward the circling bat, he tried to inspire real panic in other kids.

“Look, it’s a bat! It’s flying,” he half shrieked.

There were even scarier creatures skulking about elsewhere in the night. At the intersection of Sixth and Anthes Street, stilt performer Larry Dobson showed up with a glowing mask and a variation on the flowing, bird-like costume he wears each year at the Maxwelton Parade. Approaching 15 feet in height, he looked anything but harmless as he swooped his arms over the heads children and their parents — getting screams from the younger-set, but “ooo’s,” “aaah’s,” and laughs from adults.

Giving the evening a humorous touch was a group of Halloween carolers. Including South Whidbey music teacher Kimmer Morris and Langley resident Ben Gilmore, the group sang a modified version of “Deck the Halls.” It went something like this:

“Join with all your loony friends

Falalalala-lala-la-la,” concluded the song at one doorstep.

Only a steady flow of cars rolling through the scene prevented the town’s core streets from turning into a bizarre block party. Though drivers were asked by the city’s police chief to park their cars out of concern for childrens’ safety, traffic was much heavier than usual throughout Langley.

This was not a factor for kids and parents who attended the Hallelujah Carnival at the Langley CMA Church. Several hundred revelers stopped at the three-hour event to play games, eat treats, and laugh along with comedian and ventriloquist Gene Cordova, who delivered a Christian message while entertaining his audience with puppets and balloon animals.

Islandwide, the evening was generally quiet. Island County Sheriff Mike Hawley said his deputies responded to fewer complaints of malicious mischief and vandalism Wednesday than on other recent Halloweens. Langley Police Chief Bob Herzberg made similar comments.

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