Local News

Mixed response to Jackson Street Halloween tradition

Trick-or-treaters line up to collect treats at a Jackson Street home Thursday.

The weather was relatively nice for trick-or-treaters Thursday night, and after Ketchikan city police barricaded a portion of Jackson Street, residents there had upwards of 1,000 costumed kids knocking on their doors. Some who live on that street welcome the annual holiday rush, but others would like to share the responsibility with different neighborhoods.

Jackson Street was full of princesses, devils, unicorns, pirates and a couple of walking tacos. They ran around carrying candy bags, laughing, and pointing Halloween decorations out to their smiling parents.

Gabriel Duckworth, sporting an orange striped prison costume, was one of those parents, and he’s also a neighborhood resident.

“It’s hard to coordinate being a parent and doing the trick or treat thing at your own house, so you’ve got to bring buddies over, so then you can walk for a bit,” he explained.

A little further down the hill, Laurie and Michael Sivertsen, with help from Michael’s mom, Terry, ushered visitors into their garage, which they temporarily turned into a haunted house. In the back, guarding the candy bowl was Michael Sivertsen, wearing a freaky sharp-toothed clown mask. Through the mask, he talked about the flood of kids that visit each Halloween.

“My biggest year was 3,800,” he said. “(Today) is a little slower than usual…  but we had 2,200 kids one year when it rained sideways. We’ll see how it goes this year.”

Across the street are Valerie Brooks and her husband, Michael. While they enjoy seeing the kids in costume, Valerie Brooks said she’d like a little break from the annual tradition. She said they have tried avoiding the responsibility in the past, but it didn’t really work out.

“We went out to dinner with the kids one night and we couldn’t get home ‘cause the street was blocked,” she said. “I had homework when I was doing a graduate degree. All the lights were off, I was on the computer. People knocked, people kicked, we got egged.”

Brooks said she was among a group of homeowners that went to the City Council many

Valerie Brooks hands out candy to trick-or-treaters Thursday night. On the wall to her left is the secret password for kids to get a full-size candy bar from Mayor Lew Williams III, who lives nearby.

years ago with concerns about safety before the street was barricaded each year. She said the barricade has helped with safety, “but it’s kind of become a monster.”

Brooks stressed that she doesn’t dislike Halloween, or even handing out candy. It’s the volume, and the annual responsibility.

“If it were a few trick-or-treaters, and we could say, oh, what a wonderful unicorn outfit… that’s cool, but everybody should be able to share in that,” she said. “A rotation would be great.”

A block away on Monroe Street, the volume was lower, but there still was a steady stream of trick-or-treaters, especially at Mayor Lew William III’s house. Word on the street was that if costumed kids gave a secret password, “Dawgfather,” they’ll get a full-size candy bar.

While slightly concerned about running out of the larger candy bars, Williams grinned as kids flow past, claiming the prize.

“We’re doing really good this year with our secret password,” he said. “So far, people have seen it in the paper, they’ve seen it on a house next door on Jackson, they’ve seen it on Facebook. I hope I have enough candy.”

Williams takes Halloween seriously, and his family was there in force to help out. One daughter handed out goodies at the door, another kept a hand-count of how many kids show up, and his son-in-law had a clicker to verify the numbers. They all hoped to break the record from last year.

“We’re going to pass the 528 I think, easy,” he said.

And they certainly did. The final count that his daughter, Jodi Williams, reported was 982. That was just shy of Valerie Brook’s final number of 998.

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