Popular Tacoma-based storyteller Karen Haas lures wide-and-searching eyed youngsters to listen to and participate in friendly but scary ghost stories. Photo by Hugh McMillan, KP News

At the first of Key Peninsula Volunteer Park’s “All-Hallows Harvest Celebration,” despite an on-again-off-again Saturday night drizzle, the spirits of some 30 attendees were not dampened in the least.

Strings of soft lights flanked pathways from the parking area to the park’s covered picnic shelter where kids and parents gathered. Several kids were designing and coloring outlines of pumpkins while others cuddled with their parents to enjoy the guitar and vocal musical renditions of country songs by professional local musician Don Allard. Some delighted in accepting Allard’s invitation to join in a sing-along with him. Throughout it all, lights were low, very low.

The drizzle lessened as if on cue as the group moved to the park’s uncovered lower field and fire pit for a bonfire and a feast of s’mores self-cooked under parental guidance by the kids on roasting sticks they brought from home for the culinary experience.

With the only source of light being the bonfire, a proper eerie atmosphere was established for popular Tacoma-based storyteller Karen Haas to inveigle wide-and-searching eyed youngsters to listen to and participate in friendly but scary ghost stories. Haas has an astonishing talent for holding her audience’s full attention as she believably produces a backwoods’ redneck drawl for one story and, barely noticeably, slides into a real Irish brogue for yet another in her repertoire of several mind tweaking tales.

The evening ended with rewards for the top two “pumpkin” decorations.

Admission to “All-Hallows Harvest Celebration” was free. Many attendees brought contributions of non-perishable items for the local food bank.

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