Halloween at Tapley's turns 31 

Annual event plays host to more than 800 trick-or-treaters every year

click to enlarge FILE PHOTO - SPOOKY TRADITION  Halloween at Tapley's Farm is gearing up for its 31st installment, with more than 800 kids expected in the neighbourhood.
  • file photo
  • SPOOKY TRADITION Halloween at Tapley's Farm is gearing up for its 31st installment, with more than 800 kids expected in the neighbourhood.

A longstanding Whistler tradition returns next week, as Halloween at Tapley's Farm turns 31 on October 31.

"The tradition has stayed alive and well every year, organized by the moms of the neighbourhood, and gratefully supported by the RMOW, the fire department and the local supermarkets," said Julia Smart, who has been involved with the event for the past 11 years.

"Often Whistler is seen for the tourist side and the extreme sport side, but there's a huge, huge family side to living here as well, behind all the tourism and what have you.

"It's really special. I get very excited about being part of it, and pulling out all the stops to create something that they will enjoy year after year."

And Smart won't be the only one pulling out all the stops.

As in years past, homeowners in the area will be going to some spooky lengths to transform the neighbourhood.

"People go all out here to make these amazing sets on their properties," Smart said.

"It's like walking into a real Disney set or a film set, and there are no street lights down here, which also adds to the magic."

Prizes will once again be awarded for the best costumes and best-decorated homes.

Judging criteria includes originality, arrangement, theme and overall presentation.

"We know Halloween in Tapley's is a tradition that has welcomed families throughout the corridor and beyond, dating back to when it was hard to find enough lights on in any one neighbourhood to satisfy our greedy little goblins," said long-time Tapley's resident Bonnie Munster, in an email.

Munster is one of a handful of residents who have been a part of the tradition every year since its inception.

"With a few over-enthusiastic parents, some willing, fun-loving neighbours and the help of friends and families who wanted to be included... it grew," she said.

In the early days, it was the dads of the neighbourhood who organized the accompanying fireworks show, until the event grew too large — and one unfortunate incident that set a young girl on fire — Munster said.

Since then, the fire department has handled the fireworks display on the lower Myrtle Philip playing fields — this year's show is once again sponsored by Nesters, and starts at 7:30 p.m.

With more than 800 kids expected in the neighbourhood this year, the candy demand will once again be enormous.

Candy donations can be made at all of Whistler's schools, daycares and supermarkets.

"We are also collecting donations for the food bank," Smart said.

"If people could bring non-perishable items, which they could drop off at the entrance (to Tapley's), Whistler high school students are volunteering to run the food bank donation centre there."

The neighbourhood will be closed to traffic starting at 5 p.m., but a free "Park and Spook" shuttle — decorated by students from Whistler Waldorf School — will run from Marketplace to Tapley's from 5 – 9 p.m.

The festivities get underway at 5:30 p.m.


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