A complete downtown event makes Halloween a very special time for the citizens of Gig Harbor. Gig Harbor is a small town which does not have a stoplight downtown. Gig Harbor is located on the Westside of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. The majority of the homes in Gig Harbor are located in rural areas where there are no sidewalks or streetlights.
Every Halloween from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. the businesses of downtown Gig Harbor open their doors for trick or treating. The main part of Harbor View is closed down, so families can walk down the middle of the street. The community trick or treating is a gigantic costume parade. Each vendor happily greets the children commenting on everyone’s costume. Some of the store owners comment on how much they have grown since last Halloween, due to the fact that a lot of the store owners personally know the children.
The church that is located in the shopping zone of the city puts on a free carnival open to the public during this time of trick or treating. Children of all ages are invited to participate as they have ensured that there is a game for everyone.
A historic home downtown creates a small haunted house. All the children love to enter this haunted house and the parents know that it is completely safe to let them enter while we socialize on the sidewalk. The house has eerie music and scary people hidden inside, yet it is mild enough for small children to dare to enter the house.
A large part of the trick or treating event is the social aspect. We run into friends who attend different schools, soccer teammates, and dance studio friends. Last year was my first year of being a substitute teacher in the town next to Gig Harbor. I ran into students and teachers I met while teaching. I look forward to catching up with old friends and seeing new friends every time we go out. Several years ago, I started making Boo! Bags for the adults I would run into while trick or treating. The bags include popcorn and candy corn I tell them it is a special treat just for them on this night for children.
One of the most exciting adventures is the pirate ship that appears at the public dock every year. The pirates give the children a tour of their pirate ship and share some of their booty of gold chocolate coins. A resident of the harbor brings his large sailboat to the public dock decorated as a pirate ship. The ship is manned with costumed pirates gauging their scariness based on the age of the children.
Halloween in Gig Harbor is a very friendly place.