A Halloween Guide to Frightfully Fun Events & Activities on Mercer Island

October 1, 2022 | by Sophia Maggio

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Cool autumn breezes chase away the smoke, rustle the colorful leaves, and presage the arrival of spooky season on Mercer Island. For both lone ghouls and families with little ghosts, the scares come in fast – in the forms of 12-foot skeletons from Home Depot, the witches and zombies on your neighbor’s porch, and figuring out last-minute Halloween plans.

The trick to an excellent holiday season is planning ahead, so read through our list of family-friendly ways to celebrate Halloween on Mercer Island, and you’ll be in for a treat with these spooktacular traditions, activities, and events.

1. Buy costumes at the Mercer Island Thrift Shop

For a costume that’s frightening and frugal, drag your bag o’ bones to the Thrift Shop. Every October, the shop assembles a huge section of costumes in its upstairs apparel department. There will also be a build-your-own-costume section, where DIY-ers can design a winning combination of clothing, jewelry, and collectibles.

Mercer Island Thrift Shop hours are Sunday through Thursday, 10 am to 6 pm.

Image credit: Megan Schoephoerster

2. Shake your Skeleton at Rocktober

Friday, October 21st, 11:30 am – 2 pm, at Mercer Island Community & Event Center

Cost: Free!

Get ready to shake your skeleton! This afternoon of classic Rock ‘n Roll is designed for seniors and sponsored by the City of Mercer Island and Aljoya, a local senior living community. The event begins with a lesson about this iconic musical genre from lecturer John Jensen, followed by free lunch, root beer floats and music by the Soul Searching Band. Plus, we heard a rumor that Elvis might stop by. To register, call 206-275-7609.

3. Haunt Local Businesses at the Town Center Trick-or-Treating Event

Friday, October 28, 4 – 6 pm, at Mercer Island Town Center

Gather your ghouls and goblins for trick-or-treating in Town Center! This annual event is sponsored by the Mercer Island Chamber of Commerce and the City of Mercer Island. Before Hallo-Weekend, Mercer Island Parks & Recreation will release a map of participating businesses on its website.

Image credit: Katie Herzog, MI Parks & Rec

4. Watch Coco at the Emmanuel Church Family Movie Night

Saturday, October 29th, 5 pm, at Emmanuel Church

Cost: Free!

All are welcome at this Family Movie Night showing of the Disney animated film, Coco. There will be Halloween treats for kiddos and socializing for the parents.

5. Behold a Bounty of Jack-O’-Lanterns at the Mercer Island Pumpkin Walk 

Sunday, October 30th, 5 to 8 pm, at Mercerdale Park

Cost: Free (Donations encouraged)

Find your costume and your sneakers – and polish off your pumpkin carving skills – the Mercer Island Pumpkin Walk is fast-approaching! This annual non-scary event is sponsored by the City of Mercer Island and will follow the city’s annual trick-or-treat event (#3 above).

Courtesy of both carving pros and community volunteers, the Mercerdale Park loop will be decorated with glowing Jack-o’-lanterns for walkers to enjoy. If you’d like to drop off a carved pumpkin, you can do so throughout the day on October 30th. While the drop-off location is yet to be determined, check the Facebook page for updates as the event date approaches.

Pumpkin walkers can rest their feet and enjoy on-site sponsored events, food trucks, and music. You might also catch a glimpse of Wade Lapp, a famous wood and pumpkin carver who plans to demonstrate his work at the park.

Chinese dragon carved pumpkin series | Mercer Island Pumpkin Walk 2019 at Luther Burbank Park

6. Say Hello to the Horses at the Saddle Club Halloween Party

Sunday, October 30th, 3 – 5 pm, at 8635 SE 68th St, Mercer Island

Directions: To reach the entry gate, head east on SE 68th and turn right just before ICW. Parking is available at the nearby QFC lot.

The Juniors of the Mercer Island Saddle Club welcome kids of all ages to their Spooktacular Halloween Party.

Kids will enjoy seasonal games by the historic Caretaker’s Cottage, then take a scary stroll down the barn aisle to greet the horses. Afterward, thrill-seekers can warm up with some hot cider at the Cook Shack, make their own sweet treats at the cookie-decorating loft, or express their ghoulish creativity at the Arts Corner. Before leaving, all attendees are encouraged to enter the magic arena for a rare sighting of an enchanted unicorn.

The Saddle Club suggests a donation of $20 / family, which will support the MISC Junior Fund.

MI Saddle Club Halloween Flyer
Image credit: Suzanne Zahr, MI Saddle Club

7. Get Frightened at Youth Theatre Northwest’s “Night of 1,000 Scares” Horror Film Festival

Saturday, October 22nd, 6 pm, at Mercerdale Park

This annual Halloween horror show is the perfect treat for film buffs and thrill-seekers. This year’s event will feature a Halloween-themed performance by the youth improv troop, Chaos Theory, followed by three student-acted horror films on the big screen. There will also be a costume parade with prizes, so come dressed in your most fearful finery.

Attendees are encouraged to bring their own blankets and small change for concessions: no scary movie is complete without popcorn! Please note that the spooky films are recommended for ages 12+.

More details will be released soon on the Youth Theatre Northwest website.

8. Go Trick-or-Treating in The Lakes 

Find the happiest haunting on the south end of the island, where The Lakes boasts a king-sized reputation for impressive Halloween decor and generous helpings of sweets. Use our tips below or read our full guide to ensure the chorus of “boos” don’t become “boo-hoos.”

  • In consideration of the youngest ghouls with early bedtimes, trick-or-treating begins around 5 pm and ends around 9 pm. 
  • No guests are allowed to drive into The Lakes after 5 pm. Families can park nearby at Lakeridge Elementary or Islander Middle School.
  • The main loop around the neighborhood is nearly a mile, which might be too much for little feet! Shorten the route by turning on SE 76th, the street that bisects The Lakes. 
  • Historically, residents of The Lakes host a Halloween food drive for the Mercer Island Youth & Family Services (MIYFS) food pantry. This year, the food bank is not collecting food donations, but it is accepting gift cards! Islanders are encouraged to support the food bank by dropping a gift card in the utility collection box at City Hall. 

Arrive with your costume, candy bag, and thank-yous: The Lakes residents invest hours of their time and pounds of candy into this community event. 

9. Knock at the Cookie House

In the East Seattle neighborhood of Mercer Island, the Cookie House carries on the 77-year tradition of eschewing packaged candy and instead handing out homemade gingerbread cookies. When Tara and Milton Reimers bought the property in 2011, they learned their house came with the opportunity to continue a beloved island custom.

Each year, they assemble a devoted team to bake and decorate more than 400 gingerbread cookies, and on Halloween, trick-or-treaters swing by the Cookie House for an old-fashioned treat. 

Photo courtesy Tara Reimers