By Jennifer Pund
COAL CREEK CANYON
Every year on Halloween, the Camp Eden road area in Coal Creek Canyon, turns into “Monsterville” with ghosts and goblins ready to scare anyone who dares to enter. That, and give out candy.
For 15 years Vanessa Wishstar has been heading up the large trick-or-treat event on her favorite holiday to give mountain kids a safe and fun place to collect candy while mountain parents get to connect and socialize before winter begins. Thanks to a few sponsors each year, this event has developed into a neighborhood wide community “spooktacular”event.
CCCMonsterville is a trick or treat event for everyone, young and old, up Camp Eden Road near Wondervu in Coal Creek Canyon. There is no need to drive down to the flats to enjoy trick or treating, the only requirement is that you must be in consume to “get your loot, otherwise they don’t give a hoot.” Tick or Treaters are asked to wear a visible costume with warm layers underneath, bring a bag to hold candy, flashlight or headlamp, and a printed map of the “Streets of Treats,” which can be found online. Be ready for any type of weather, including snow, when walking or driving the neighborhood streets.
“This is one of those holidays that brings us all together for one last hurrah before the cold sets in, at times that can be on Halloween. CCCMonsterville has morphed into such a creative event that many let their inner goblin out in this safe, respectful, fun community where there’s not much else like it,” Wishstar said.
In 2001, she moved to the mountains for the solitude and privacy, but her New England background ached for the autumn traditions of neighborhood-wide celebrations she remembers from being a kid. She decided to take on the duty herself.
“Fall time and Halloween are essentially a religious practice of community gathering before shutting our door to old man winter. I knew it would take a lot of cheerleading to organize something this bold when most, including myself, like our privacy and mountain peace,” she said. “Plus I couldn’t imagine most kids had to go down below for a snickers and a frown (depending on their age), when they have a vibrant community just waiting for them and their darling little smiles. This community needed local trick or treating.”
She said she found a “crazy kin” in her community. “One fateful night prior to the hooligan happenings I ventured out to prop up the ghost locator signs and teared with delight as to seeing the madness of so many putting up ghosts, lights, chainsaws and music, costumes on and driveways plowed, all ready for our candy crazed monsters. That’s when I knew cccMonsterville was us—all of us,” she said. “Our neighbors—many of whom I haven’t even met—took it and ran, making it their own nut house. Sometimes, I think the adults have more fun than the children as we get to play before being socked in for winter’s wrath.”
The love of the holiday, and sponsors, keeps the event going. “Trick or Treating is a free event although it takes a lot of work to get the word out, website maintenance, repair and replacement of signs and lights, it can really add up,” Wishstar said. “We organize CCCMonsterville because we love Halloween, the creativity, ingenuity, candy, community gathering, did I mention candy? But it’s our sponsors that keep it going. Without them we couldn’t afford… this big community event.” Mock Reality/Kathy Keating and Hunt Country Iron are the “2015 Mega Monstor $pon$or$” and many more “Gremlin Givers” contribute each year.
Because the event is 15 years old, Wishstar sees kids who were just 5 years old when they started and are now in College. “Some come back and tell us this was their childhood memory moments and now they’re driving and have a girlfriend. These moment makers are because our House Participants go way above and beyond.”
When she first began this event, Wishstar had no idea what it would become over the years. “We are so grateful Coal Creek Canyon has embraced this creative, enchanted spooktacular event, because it is our community that makes it what it is,” she said. “My wish is someday I’ll be trick or treating with our new little one, and playing witness to this magical event that started 15 years ago with me knocking on doors begging for participation.”
CCCMonsterville is Oct. 31 from 5-8 p.m. For more information, visit http://www.cccmonsterville.com or check out their facebook page for updates.
Originally published in the October 2015 issue of the MMAC Monthly.