By Kris Parfitt
– The Capitol Hill Times -
No other neighborhood in Seattle celebrates Halloween quite like Capitol Hill, though we may be somewhat biased.
The parallel blocks between East Mercer Street and East Prospect on 16th, 17th and 18th Avenues were closed to traffic for the young and old trick-or-treaters Wednesday night. Beautiful homes built during the turn of the century were turned into scary haunted houses bedecked in orange, purple and black lights and festooned with every imaginable Halloween décor. Skeletons, ghosts, ghouls and a sacrificed oversize teddy bear threatened to scare away the trick-or-treaters but instead they lined up for treats and screamed in glee at the tricks.
Later on, Pike and Pine between Broadway and 12th Avenue became a parade of costumes ranging from a man in a suit with fake blood on a white shirt, to a 6 foot 7-inch (with heels) gentleman cloaked head-to-toe in Disney glamour wowing the crowd with his snarky Snow White wit. Day of the Dead faces were the obvious trend as were women wearing what some would define as “stripper wear.”
One woman was the hit of the street party when she arrived dressed as a binder of women. A young man solicited the most questions and admiration with his motion capture suit (used in making life-like animations for movies and games) which was really just black sweat pants and top with ping-pong balls sewn to strategic joint spots.
A marching band refused to yield to an unwieldy crowd and people danced, sang and strolled the streets until the wee hours of the morning.
Back at the Volunteer Park Conservatory, creatively carved pumpkins were sprinkled among the beautiful collection of flora in a darkened Conservatory. People of all ages visited, some in costume and some with spirit. Hot cider and treats were served while visitors were treated to having their fortunes told by the marvelous Madame Pomegranate.
Sponsored by the Friends of the Conservatory to bring awareness to the Conservatory, the Haunted Conservatory and Pumpkin display was a team effort including the FOC board of directors. Vice President Rudi Opderbeck was on hand to represent the board and host the cider and treat table. Executive Director Stephen Hall and Administrative Executive Audrey Brumett Meade greeted visitors while Kristin Spexarth, Nile Kurashige, Giselle Blythe, and a few of the gardeners were on hand in full costume to answer questions and guide visitors through the hauntingly lit Conservatory.