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Westport Historical Society's festivities haunt, but also educate Anastasia Thumser '22

Ghoulish games, petrifying pumpkins and horrifying hayrides are just a few of the activities at the Family Creep Fest, which occurred on Oct. 5. With Halloween quickly approaching, the Westport Historical Society ensures its festivities are kicked off with a proper sense of fear and fun, while also incorporating historical context.

A horse carriage arrives at the Westport Historical Society for the Family Creep Fest, which offers families hayrides throughout downtown Westport.

“October is completely dedicated to what we call ‘Spooktober,’ which is a full month-long series of programs all related to the creepy, eerie history of Westport,” Nicole Carpenter, director of programs and education for the Westport Museum of History and Culture, said.

Pumpkins are displayed at the front entrance to emphasis the start of Spooktober; the Westport Historical Society dedicated the month of October to Halloween.

In addition to Halloween-themed games, pumpkin decorating and horse-drawn wagon rides, the Creep Fest also offered a reading of Washington Irving’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” pizza provided by truck and tarot card readings by Maria Davis.

Hay rides are the most popular activity at the Family Creep Fest; there are few opportunities other than this event to travel downtown Westport by horse.

“I love tarot; tarot to me is about giving [people] direction. And I love when I can give, throughthe cards, direction to other people,” Davis said. As a tarot teacher for Wilton Adult Education, Angel Cooperative and Turning Point Reiki classes, she is excited to work with kids at a festive event.

Maria Davis displays her tarot table, which is offered to both kids and adults who attend the event.

While the Westport Historical Society aims for entertainment through events like the Creep Fest, they also remain focused on educational purpose. Cat Graham ’19, an associate at WHS and graphic design contributor, likes Spooktober especially because of its historical significance.

These halloween decorations replace normal exhibit space; however, they are adjacent to the public health exhibit if attendees wish to observe.

“Our Haunted House theme is the theme of one our exhibits, which is public health. So we’re having a sanitarium for a spooky feel,” Graham said.

This sign contributes to the spooky decorations that adorn the Westport Historical Society invites attendees into Maria Davis' tarot room.

Carpenter agrees, as she values the historical message behind the fun-filled holiday. “Spooktober is really fun, because who doesn’t enjoy Halloween? But also, it’s a chance to learn about history that we don’t usually talk about for the rest of the year,” Carpenter said. “We get to explore topics like witches, graveyards, and people who may have had a darker past. And it’s really fun to talk about this unusual history in a family-friendly way.”

Pumpkin decorating is one of the many activities one can partake in during the Family Creep Fest, and a mobile pizza truck serves lunch to hungry artists.

Credits:

Anastasia Thumser '22