Spook Alley Returns for Halloween
By Amber Ford
Back in action for another Halloween season, Spook Alley is gearing up to be a fun-filled family event for kids of all ages. Long time Spook Alley host and organizer, Shirley Dueber, is excited and filled with anticipation over another opportunity to help host this most sought-out community event. “I have been in charge of Spook Alley since the mid 1970s and I really enjoy doing it for the kids. It’s just a lot of fun,” Dueber said.
With the construction of the Thriftway plaza in the early 1960s, Spook Alley has become a staple to families and kids growing up in the Mt. Hood Villages. More than a trick-or-treat typical Halloween event, Spook Alley is an opportunity for kids and teenagers to gather in a safe environment and showcase their creative and unique costumes. “Of course there’s candy and treats, but Spook Alley is more like a Halloween carnival, Dueber said. While candy is the staple of any Halloween event, Spook Alley offers those sweet treats and much more. According to Dueber there are many games and activities which help make the yearly event special and a community favorite. “The games are a big part of Spook Alley,” Dueber said. “We set up a golf game and a fishing booth where the little ones can scoop up ducks. There’s also the ‘ghost roll’ game and the ring toss that the Hoodland Fire Department sets up,” Dueber added.
While Dueber has been overseeing much of the planning and organizing of Spook Alley, there are several businesses and organizations throughout the community who offer their time and support each year. The Mt. Hood Lions Club, Hoodland Women’s Club, Hoodland Fire Department and Clackamas County Bank are just some of the supporters of Spook Alley. According to Dueber, these local businesses not only offer up donations of candy and decorations, but they also donate their time to help keep this Halloween event a tradition. “We try to involve everybody,” Dueber said. “The more people I can get involved, the happier I am,” Dueber added.
Along with the carnival style games and sweet treats, Spook Alley also hosts a costume contest for kids of all ages. Prizes include grab bags and a large array of candy. While there are many things for the community to look forward to when it comes to Spook Alley, Dueber acknowledges some of the challenges the event has faced over the years. From typical October, Mt. Hood rainy weather to the pandemic, Spook Alley has yet to cancel since it first began. “There were a few years it was very challenging to pull off, but it will never be canceled,” Dueber said. “During Covid we had booths set up so families could drive up, play a few games and get their candy,” Dueber added. When asked what her favorite thing about being the “Halloween Queen” of the Mt. Hood Villages, Dueber kept it simple: the kids and the community. “Seeing all of the kids in their costumes and also when the teenagers started coming back, those are always great memories and the reason why I still do it,” Dueber said.
Spook Alley will be held on 10/31 from 6:30pm-8:30pm at the Thriftway plaza. Costume contests kick off at 6:45pm with age groups 0-3, 7pm with age groups 4-7, 7:15 with age groups 8-12, 7:30 with age groups 13+ and ends with a final contest with the winners of each age group vying for the Spook Alley costume contest winner.