Sally Harris: Nevada City rolls out the Halloween welcome mat | TheUnion.com
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Sally Harris: Nevada City rolls out the Halloween welcome mat

Other Voices
Sally Harris and Paul Matson

Recently The Union ran its weekly “Our View” criticizing the fact that the Halloween Parade did not happen in Nevada City this year.

The piece then went on as to the need for tourism.

It concluded with “And by coming together to put our best foot forward as a community, rather than revert to a Not In My Back Yard mind-set, perhaps we can even convince them (the tourists) to stay.”



To say that we were taken aback by this editorial would be putting it mildly. For openers, Nevada City may be the most welcoming community anywhere in the country when it comes to hosting events. Halloween is no exception.

…“Not In My Back Yard” was ill-conceived and uninformed.Halloween in Nevada City is a wide-open, community event that is, plain and simple, a gift and a knockout by any standard.

Here it is based on a magnanimous group of residents and businesses offering something for one and all.




It has little or nothing to do with tourism, but rather providing something fun (and for free) to anyone who wishes to show up.

Like always the downtown was rocking, from the National Hotel to Friar Tuck’s to the Miners Foundry’s Fright Night.

So were the neighborhoods with a cavalcade of Trick or Treaters on Nevada, Clay, Boulder streets; you name it.

Our evening started out by walking up East Broad Street and making the loop from there to North Pine Street and then Cottage Street back to the beginning.

These streets were completely closed to vehicles and they were packed with thousands of costumed trick-or-treaters, their friends and relatives; people came from far and wide.

The Nevada City Fire and Police departments were on hand to ensure the street closures and everyone’s safety.

It’s a lot of fun wandering through this neighborhood amidst the costumed throng, in the middle of the street.

People went all out decorating their homes complete with high tech, audio visual enhancements.

It gets taken up a notch with every passing year.

Our first stop was a home on East Broad. Classic “horror” cartoons were being screened accompanied by music such as “The Monster Mash.”

The house, trees and bushes were fully decorated with cobwebs and lights, all enveloped by a cloud from the smoke machine.

To top it all off, one of the half dozen millennials greeting and handing out the candy did an almost perpetual tap dance behind a devilish mask.

From the very tiny people to the full-sized ones, there was a line all night long down the sidewalk and way out into the street waiting for their treat.

This house stopped counting at around 1,500 trick-or-treaters.

We then meandered past the Outside Inn which was also holding court complete with food service. Next stop, the Haunted House on North Pine.

This Halloween extravaganza is the result of a highly generous, elaborate and annually unique offering consisting months of hard work and planning.

It offers a sophisticated tour though scary structures and creations that are visited every year by thousands of people.

This amazing creation has been going on for decades, gets bigger every year, and is fun for everyone. It’s also appropriate for the very youngest of Halloween guests.

Last stop was an open house at the bottom of North Pine Street; beautifully decorated to the hilt, like so many homes in town and “on the course.” They were serving hot soup and dinner to those hanging out and dropping by. They stopped counting at around 1,200 trick-or-treaters.

The editorial’s line, “Not In My Back Yard” was ill-conceived and uninformed.

Halloween in Nevada City is a wide-open, community event that is, plain and simple, a gift and a knockout by any standard.

Sally Harris and Paul Matson live in Nevada City.


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