Virus scare means precautions at Halloween events

Spooked by scary COVID-19, many annual Halloween events are being canceled this year and ones that are taking place are a ghost of their former selves.

But many are still enjoying the opportunity to get out of their dungeons to participate in a holiday activity.

Such was the case on a recent sunny afternoon at the Pumpkin Patch at Suyematsu Farms on Bainbridge Island. Avery Kwiatkowski, 5, was there with her family. She was so happy she laid down on a big pumpkin and gave it a huge hug.

Theo Nathanson, 4, also was there with his family. He could be seen using all his muscles to pick up another big pumpkin and load it onto one of the classic Radio Flyer wagons at the farm.

Robin Weiss of Poulsbo also was there, with other artists. They were painting scenes of the fields filled with thousands of pumpkins.

Karen Selvar, who took over that section of the farm in 2012, said she planted fewer pumpkins in May due to the coronavirus because she wasn’t even sure if her field would be open to the public this fall. It wasn’t going to be until Gov. Jay Inslee decide to allow it three weeks ago.

It’s open but with restrictions. Of course there is hand sanitizer, and people should wear masks, even though they’re outside. They also should remain in their family units and stay at least 6 feet away from those not in their group.

There are no tractor rides or corn mazes this season. There are three checkstands instead of one to spread out visitors. No school groups are coming; Selvar said she usually has about 30 of them.

None of that keeps people from having fun, though. Parents can be seen taking pictures of their kids among the many types of pumpkins. There are big ones, small ones, different-colored ones and even red, flat ones that look like Cinderella’s stagecoach.

There are a couple of face-in-the-hole billboards with farm scenes for more picture opportunities, along with areas with colorful flowers, fruits, vegetables and Halloween decorations.

Selvar said the biggest Great Pumpkin she’s seen at the farm weighed 150 pounds, “But I haven’t seen any that big in many years.” There are quite a few in the 50-pound range, however, she added.

Hours for the Pumpkin Patch are 1-6 p.m. daily and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. She plans to be open through Oct. 31 or, “until we run out of pumpkins.”

Other events still planned:

•The Haunted Hayride at Battle Point Park. You have to enjoy all the spirit and spook from your own vehicle due to coronavirus restrictions. Ride through the “haunted” pumpkin-lined trails, where not-too-spooky characters and displays emerge from the shadows.

Cost is $20 per vehicle. Registration is required at It will take place Oct. 20-22 between 6-9 p.m.

•The 27th Annual Pumpkin Walk takes place from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays at Bainbridge Gardens. The Trail of Pumpkins is decorated with hundreds of painted pumpkins and family friendly Halloween scenes. People can add to it by bringing in their painted pumpkin. People can dress up in costume and take selfies with The Great Pumpkin. Share photos on Instagram #PumpkinWalk2020. You can also donate to the Bainbridge Island Boys and Girls Club.

•Bloedel Reserve offers free Gratitude Days Oct. 10-11 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Timed tickets are required, available the day before. Also, the Super Squash Scavenger Hunt returns through Oct. 31. Come see hundreds of pumpkins and squash along the trails. If you guess the size or weight of the Dill’s Atlantic Giant Pumpkin you could win a $35 gift certificate.

Avery Kwiatkowski, 5, was so happy to be outside on this warm day that she gave this big pumpkin a hug.
Robin Weiss was one of a few artists who were out at the pumpkin patch painting the fields.
Pumpkin patch owner Karen Selvar helps a customer.
People can be seen taking pictures in colorful locations all around the patch.
Decorations adorn the pumpkin patch.
Patch owner Karen Selvar arranges flowers at one of the checkout stands.
Pumpkins of all shapes, sizes and colors are available.
One of the hole-in-the-billboard picture locations is a scarecrow.
Another hole-in-the-billboard picture location is for a group of four in a tractor.
Be careful when you pick up a pumpkin not to be scared by a skull that might be right next to it.