Halloween happenings

It may be different this year, but the Island still offers plenty of ‘spooky’ events.

Children gathered at the M.V. Museum for trick or treat last Halloween. — Lexi Pline

If you think Halloween, Saturday, Oct. 31, this year, is just for kids — or all about the candy — think again. There is a plethora of spooky offerings going on throughout the Island over the next couple of weeks for adults and kids alike.

For something just a bit off the beaten track on Friday, Oct. 30, at 5 pm, the Chilmark library offers “Forensic Entomology: Using Bugs to Solve Crimes” with Larry Dapsis, an entomologist at the Cape Cod Cooperative Extension. Astoundingly, it turns out that the first known murder investigation to solve a crime with insects took place in the 13th century. Dapsis will take us on a virtual tour of criminal and civil investigations of the art and science of using insects, phenomenally accurate detectives.

Also through the Chilmark library, author Sam Baltrusis presents a talk on Wednesday, Oct. 28, at 7 pm: “Ghost Writers: The Hallowed Haunts of Unforgettable Literary Icons.” Baltrusis has penned more than a dozen paranormal-themed books, including “Mass Murders and Ghosts of the American Revolution.” He will talk about well-recognized authors who have a reputation of being tortured souls languishing among the living, addressing the question: Does the unrest continue in the afterlife? Baltrusis will share ghost lore, legends, and the haunts associated with America’s most beloved literary icons of ghost stories, ranging from Edgar Allan Poe’s enduring legacy in New York City to Nathaniel Hawthorne’s indelible imprint on the House of the Seven Gables in Salem, Mass. Email tthorpe@clamsnet.org to sign up and get the Zoom invite for both these events.

Tom Dresser has a new book out that is just the thing for the holiday. He says, “My goal in presenting a series of talks about ‘Ghosts of Martha’s Vineyard’ is not to frighten or alarm anyone. We have enough of that this year. As an historian I share interviews with Vineyarders who have undergone a spectral experience, a sound, a smell, a sight that is unusual. And I touch on various historical elements relating to supernatural Vineyard events.” Dresser continues, “I was never sure about ghosts. However, after hearing a number of stories, I believe something happened which cannot be easily explained.” You can hear some of the stories, ask a question, or share your own ghost story at any of the following Zoom book talks:

Tuesday, Oct. 27, 10 am: Anchors of Edgartown, contact mkeating@edgartown-ma.us

Tuesday, Oct. 27, 5 pm: Aquinnah library, contact jmatejcek@clamsnet.org

Thursday, Oct. 29, 9 am: WCAI, 90.1, live radio interview

Thursday Oct. 29, 11 am: M.V. Center for Living, contact maryh@mvcenter4living.org

Thursday Oct. 29, 5:30 pm: Vineyard Haven library, contact amcdonough@clamsnet.org

Saturday Oct. 31, 3 pm: The Carnegie, contact melissa@mvpreservation.org

Saturday Oct. 31, 6 pm: Chilmark library, contact tthorpe@clamsnet.org

For a cool variation, Dresser is giving a virtual walking tour of the Chilmark Cemetery on Oct. 29 at 7 pm. He will meander among the gravestones with tales of the Little Women of Chilmark, Cap’n Fred, Lillian Hellman, and many more, including everyday people buried here since the first interment in 1717. Contact Tracy Thorpe at tthorpe@clamsnet.org for an invite.

If you are up for an actual, bracing experience outdoors, then Built on Stilts and the Yard are teaming up on Oct. 30 and 31 at 6 pm and 8 pm at the Martha’s Vineyard Museum to present “UnExquisite Corpse.” This immersive, farcical Halloween spectacle shapes its haunted landscape through storytelling, music, and dance. Audiences will be limited to 30 people and led through the museum’s outdoor campus along a non-linear narrative in which they encounter a hodgepodge of Halloween archetypes over the course of an hour. The performance is an unusual collaboration between nearly 20 local and diverse talents. Conceived and performed by Abby Bender and Jesse Keller Jason with Joshua Bristow, Scott Crawford, Mikah Daniels, Phil daRosa, Brooke Hardman Ditchfield, Lisa Gross, Laura Hall, Holly Jones, Roberta Kirn, Brittney Moreis, Rob Myers, Claire Page, Xavier Powers, Kaylan Sayre and other surprise guests. The performance is recommended for ages 8 and up. Audiences and performers are required to wear masks and maintain social distancing measures. This is a traveling performance outside; dress warmly and be prepared to walk and stand for the duration of the show. Audiences are strongly encouraged to wear costumes. Tickets will be pay-what-you-can, and will be available via Brown Paper Tickets. Visit abbybenderworks.com or dancetheyard.org for more information. Proceeds benefit the Martha’s Vineyard Museum.

The YMCA, the Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival, and the Martha’s Vineyard Library Association have an evening of activities and screenings planned for children of all ages at the drive-in. These free events start at 5 pm with a socially distant costume parade (and you can see yourself on the big screen), candy, and gift bags, followed by a screening of the 30-minute film “Toy Story of Terror.” The process will start all over again at 7 pm with an interactive screening of “Hocus Pocus.” Families will soon be able to pick up bags at their local libraries with an interactive movie script and the supplies needed to make “Hocus Pocus” an interactive movie. Tickets will be available next week at tmvff.org.

On Mondays throughout October at 10:30 am, West Tisbury library’s children’s librarian Mikaela Lawson will be hosting a Halloween-themed storytime to celebrate. Stories will be spooky, but not so scary. This program is designed for children ages 2 to 5, but all ages are welcome. Email mlawson@clamsnet.org for the Zoom invitation. And if you are feeling a little artsy, the West Tisbury library’s weekly curbside crafts are all Halloween-themed.

The Edgartown library is putting together a list of both very fun and very scary movies from the library’s free streaming services, Hoopla and Kanopy, with links to these titles and descriptions from its website.

So, there’s plenty to choose from even if you can’t go door-to-door down the street. Of course, there’s always bobbing for apples in your own kitchen, but that’s another story.