Halloween is approaching. I hope you are pulling out your sewing kits and hot glue guns and making some creative costumes. I ran into Woody Filley and Joanne Gosser at the fall farmer’s market this past weekend and they regaled me with tales of Halloweens past on Chappaquiddick. I am not sure how I have lived on this island for seven years and never heard some of these tales. They are stories of basements, graveyards, swamps and barns made scary with over-the-top sets that included coffins, guillotines, chainsaws, mummies, hanging bodies, heads on tables, tunnels of terror, mad doctors and goulish soundtracks.

It all began in the 1980s, when a few Chappy families with kids would drive everyone around in a pickup to visit the year-round residents for trick-or-treating. Afterwards, they would stop by the graveyard for a spooky end to the evening. In the early 1990s, a group of Chappy adults – some with kids and some without – decided to make a haunted house in Joe Cressy’s basement. Woody’s costume that first year, thought of at the last minute, involved a long black raincoat and a paper bag on his head.

They upped the ante with each passing year, determined to raise the degree of fright for the young Chappaquiddickers. And some years, it was really frightening. Woody and Joanne said that their kids, now grown, are still scared to go in their basement after a particularly terrifying haunted house there when they were young.

Woody says, “In some ways I think this was all done for the adults, not the kids. At the end of each night all the lights went on and costumed participants, both young and older, scarers and scarees, would gather for refreshments and some laughs. The last years were at the community center while it was still under construction but, as it was completed, so were the community haunted houses. Some parents continued smaller-scale haunts at their own homes but we look forward to the day that they come back to Chappy.”

Woody and Joanne may still have some good Halloween props available for anyone who wants to take up the tradition again.

Two weeks ago, Ann Floyd hosted the marine communities program from Colby Sawyer College at Tom’s Neck Farm on Chappy. Ann, a graduate of Colby Sawyer, helped start the program eight years ago, which followed a similar format as three other already-existing Colby Sawyer communities programs: desert, river and alpine. In each program, students are sent all over the country to learn the history, ecology and culture of these various communities and landscapes.

Twelve students and two professors spent the weekend at Tom’s Neck, exploring both Chappy and Martha’s Vineyard. Their schedule was full and wide-reaching and included topics in aquaculture, pollution, conservation, tribal history, agriculture, marine ecology and whaling. On Chappy, the group studied the dramatic erosion at Wasque, discussed the importance of land conservation at Tom’s Neck Farm and canoed on Poucha Pond, seining for fish and crabs. One evening, they gathered in the living room of the Tom’s Neck farm house, dating back to the 1740s, where they were serenaded by Mark Alan Lovewell, a master of sea lore storytelling.

Over the past eight years, 60 young people have come to Chappy as part of this Colby Sawyer marine communities program and Ann feels so grateful for the many individuals from both Martha’s Vineyard and Colby Sawyer who have given time and energy to make these weekends such a success.

In other news, Mike Kidder, who recently purchased a property near Blow Your Bugle Corner, found three pigs in his new front yard a few days ago. He said they were rooting around in a sand pile out front, seemingly oblivious to the fact that they were not where they were supposed to be. Unsure of what to do, Mike headed over to Wasque Farm, thinking that perhaps the pigs belonged there. Unable to find anyone, Mike returned home to find a few police officers on the scene, attempting to herd the pigs in a new direction with buckets of grain. Mike never did find out where those pigs came from, but hopefully they made their way home safely. And if you’re missing any pigs, try contacting the Edgartown police.

Finally, congrats to Allyson and Peter Getsinger, whose daughter, Meg, of Providence, R.I., gave birth to a baby boy, George Harold Codega, on Oct. 7. He weighed in at 7 pounds and 9 ounces and is eating like a champ.

That’s all the news from this tiny island this week.

Chappaquiddick town news can be sent to slipawayfarm@gmail.com