Tag Archives: Halloween

Blacktip Island To Celebrate Inaugural Conch-o-ween

Conch shell dump. Little San Salvadore.

Empty conch shells will be used for the conch-o-lantern chiseling contest at Saturday’s Conch-o-ween celebration. (photo courtesy of the Dr. Mary Gillham Archive Project)

Blacktip Island will host its inaugural ‘Conch-o-ween’ Saturday at various locations across the island in a combined celebration of both Halloween and the Caribbean island’s heritage.

“We wanted to do something that screamed ‘Blacktip’ and ‘Boo!’” event organizer Jay Valve said. “We also needed the theme to be unambiguous. Last year’s superhero-themed ‘Hero-ween celebration’ got read as ‘heroin celebration,’ and all sorts of folks showed up looking for drugs.

“Conch were, and are, a major element in our island society,” Valve said. “Conch-o-ween guarantees wholesome family fun, and there’s no way the name can be misconstrued. Conch-themed costumes are encouraged, but not required, though they will receive extra weight in the Best Costume contest. And the Lamest Costume contest.”

Organizers say the festivities will have something for everyone.

“There’ll be the costume contests and conch racing and conchy-tonk dancing for the adults,” Goldie Goby said. “But we’ll have things for the kiddos, too, like trick or treating, bobbing for lionfish and a dodge-conch game. We recommend helmets for that one.

“There’ll also be all kinds of conch-related food available,” Goby said. “The booths’ll be selling conch fritters, caramel-dunked conch-on-a-stick and fresh-pressed conch cider. And we’ll use all the empty conch shells for the conch-o-lantern chiseling contest.”

Others highlighted the Heritage House’s transformation into a haunted house.

“Lots of folks say conchs aren’t scary, but we got some surprises lined up,” master of haunts Edwin Chub said. “I can’t talk about ‘em, but Conchie monster’s gonna give some people the bejeebies. After they crawl in through that tunnel lined with wet turtle grass. And when things are over, we’ll have a Samhain, conch-harvest bonfire out on the beach.”

Some in the community were critical of the events.

“Celebrating pagan holidays and making light of devil worship is inappropriate and not what this island should be focused on,” the Reverend Pierre Grunt said. “As ever, we’re turning the church into a Hell House, with separate rooms graphically displaying the horrors of each of the Deadly Sins. I just hope we get some visitors this year.”

Many residents are looking forward to the activities.

“It’s always cool to see what kinds of gnarly costumes people come up with on this little rock,” Alison Diesel said. “Linford Blenny’s still banned after last year’s jerk-o-lantern costume. That one landed him in hoosegow overnight for public exposure and public drunkenness. Personally, though, my favorite part of Halloween is the trick or tequila-ing.”

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Charity Pumpkin Carvers Destroy Blacktip Island’s Heritage House

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A screen grab from a pumpkin carver’s phone shows the mayhem at Thursday’s charity pumpkin carving contest that severely damaged the Caribbean island’s Heritage House. (photo courtesy of Ginger Bass)

A Thursday afternoon jack-o-lantern carving contest to raise money for a local charity devolved into a brawl that seriously damaged Blacktip Island’s Heritage House community center, organizers said.

“It was supposed to be a low-key event to raise funds for Habitat for Humanity,” Heritage House director Doris Blenny said. “We shipped in all kinds of pumpkins, provided the necessary carving tools, set out snacks and lemonade and were set for some relaxing Halloween fun.

“Problem was the chocolates,” Blenny said. “Somebody put out booze-filled ones inadvertently and none of the carvers said anything. We knew the chocolates were popular, but didn’t realize something was wrong until it was too late.”

Attendees described a chaotic scene.

“It started off with giggling and shooting pumpkin seeds at each other,” carver Val Schrader said. “It escalated pretty quick to chucking pumpkin guts across the room.

“Things got ugly when Lee Helm put a big jack-o-lantern around Gage Hoase’s head,” Schrader said. “Gage took a swing at Lee, missed, and the carved pumpkin fell on Marina DeLow. From there it was an all-out pumpkin fight. There were pumpkins going through windows, knocking holes in drywall and whacking blades off ceiling fans.”

Organizers say the building might have survived if not for a second wave of violence.

“Some carvers came dressed in costume, it being for Halloween and all,” carver Ginger Bass said. “Jerrod Ephesians was dressed as an angel, and he must’ve gotten into the tequila-filled candy, because the next thing we knew he was shouting he was the Archangel Gabriel.

“He was hollering about ‘smiting’ people, and swinging a big push broom like it was a pole ax,” Bass said. “People were scrambling for the doors and diving out windows. Then he hit Dermott Bottoms, Dermott tackled him and that’s when the structural damage occurred. Rafe Marquette had to take them both down with tranq darts.”

Construction experts say the building is not repairable.

“Dermott’s a big guy. And Jerrod’s crazy-strong when he goes into smiting mode,” Stoney MacAdam said. “They broke half the wall studs and a dozen roof beams. A corner of the roof’s missing, too.

“We can strip it down to the foundation and build new for less than the repairs’d cost,” MacAdam said. “It’s a shame to lose the historic building, but it’s also a blessing in disguise. The place was full of termites, and the electric work’s always been dodgy.”

Habitat for Humanity officials say they will host a Christmas charity event far from any structures to raise funds for a new Heritage House.

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Mutant Pumpkin Mishaps Mar Halloween Carving Contest

Genetically-modified pumpkins seized by the World Agency for Nuclear Regulation after multiple explosions at Blacktip Island’s Jack-Off pumpkin carving contest sent more than 10 people to the island clinic. (Photo by Lee Paxton)

Genetically-modified pumpkins seized by the World Agency for Nuclear Regulation after multiple explosions at Blacktip Island’s Jack-Off pumpkin carving contest sent more than 10 people to the island clinic. (Photo by Lee Paxton)

A series of carving mishaps at Blacktip Island’s 31st Annual Jack-Off pumpkin carving contest left 11 people injured at the island’s Heritage House Thursday evening. Event organizers blame genetically-modified pumpkins donated by Tiperon-University Blacktip.

“The TU-B horticulture and nuclear science departments developed these fast-growing, super-sized pumpkins they gave us to try,” Jack-Off organizer Jay valve said. “As soon as the first knife broke the skin of that first pumpkin, BLAM! We had pumpkin goo raining down in a 30-foot radius.

“Folks laughed at the first one, then two more pumpkins blew up,” Valve said. “When fifth one exploded, people finally put their knives down and backed away. I mean, those suckers went off like cans of pork-and-beans in a campfire.”

TU-B scientists were stunned by the events.

“None of our theoretical models indicated that kind of rapid increase in volume or release of energy,” TU-B nuclear science department chair Ernesto Mojarra said. “Our working hypothesis is these new third-generation pumpkins developed a thicker skin that trapped the quick-maturing internal elements under a much higher pressure.

“It retrospect, we should have anticipated some volatility issues,” Mojarra said. “Raising a seed to a Volkwagen-sized pumpkin the three days, there had to be a trade off.”

Onlookers and contestants, some as young as 10 years old, are still in shock.

“Little Jimmy Bottoms took a blast straight to his face,” carver Ginger Bass said. “They’re still picking seeds out of his forehead, and I’m still blind in the blue-green range.

“No one warned us these things were dangerous,” Bass said. “I mean, sure, they glowed in the dark, but it’s Halloween. We didn’t think anything of it. Now little Jimmy glows in the dark, too. Someone needs to be held accountable.”

The World Agency for Nuclear Regulation has cordoned off the Heritage House grounds, citing public safety concerns.

“That site is red hot,” agency spokesperson Clay Geiger said. “Whatever was done to those pumpkins, we’re getting pings as far away as Jamaica. There’s no way the researchers didn’t know their gourds were dangerous.”

TU-B officials bristled at the criticism.

“It’s slander, these rumors the university donated the gourds as part of some double-blind study,” Mojarra said. “It was an unfortunate accident. Period. People are overlooking the positive in all this.

“Blast victims are showing unexpected secondary healing for a wide range of symptoms,” Mojarra said. “The Bottoms boy’s hyperthyroidism is gone, and Rocky Shores regained complete use of his right hand. We can’t undo the damage these gourds caused, but our hope is, with the right marketing, they’ll be able to ease some of the world’s suffering.”

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