Greeting the Ghouls in the Village

Oak Bay Avenue merchants, along with municipal hall, hosting celebrity pumpkins

Oak Bay Business Improvement Association event promoter Heather Leary gets in the Halloween mood at Timeless Toys with pumpkins carved by John Vickers.

Halloween has hit Oak Bay village, with dozens of carved pumpkins in shop windows and hundreds more set up behind the municipal hall.

Hand carved by Victoria artist John Vickers, the plastic pumpkins will be on public display today (Oct. 28) through Halloween Monday.

The Pumpkin Art show is in Oak Bay for the first time this year, having been previously hosted at the Victoria Truth Centre, Government House and, in its early days from 1998 to 2002, in Vickers’ Fairfield front lawn.

To celebrate the new location, 51-year-old Vickers has been busy putting Oak Bay councillors’ faces on pumpkins and carving iconic locations in the district, such as the clock tower.

“I add new pumpkins to the display every year,” Vickers said, noting he’ll also be updating several of his existing themed displays including the one of the Royal family, which now needs a pumpkin of Prince William’s bride, Catherine.

Oak Bay Mayor Christopher Causton said the district jumped on the opportunity to host the display.

“It’s one of those fortuitous things, we have the space to display it and store it, and it seemed like a natural fit for Oak Bay,” Causton said, noting the collection will be stored under Athlone Court with other seasonal displays.

Besides the pumpkins, the installation requires a transport truck full of black milk crates to display them on, and a more than 1,000-metre string of Christmas lights to power them. It takes a crew three days to set it up.

Heather Leary is co-ordinating the event for the Oak Bay Business Improvement Association. She says the size of the pumpkin display is what attracts people to it.

“It’s kind of magic,” she said. “There’s something all ages will recognize, whether it’s the Toy Story pumpkins or The Beatles.”

Association president Elizabeth Smith expects families from across Greater Victoria will come to Oak Bay Village to see it.

“It’s quite a magnificent display,” she said.

The preview pumpkins on display in merchants’ windows since Monday have already attracted attention.

“Walking through the Village in the evening with all the pumpkins lit up in windows, it’s really something to see,” Smith said.

Admission to the main pumpkin display is by donation, with all proceeds going to the Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock.

editor@oakbaynews.com

Halloween in Oak Bay

• Pumpkin Art show, Oct. 28 to 31, 5 to 10 p.m., at Oak Bay municipal hall.

• Trick or treating in the Oak Bay Village, Oct. 31 from 2 to 5 p.m., at any business with a pumpkin poster in the window.

• Fireman’s Park bonfire, Oct. 31, 6 p.m., next to the fire hall at 1703 Monterey Ave.

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