It's here! Happy Meow-loween, everyone!
This year's Cat Friday Halloween Cats Photo contest received many amazingly adorable entries. As with last year, we're sharing all the submissions in today's post. But to reward our participants for their efforts — getting a cat to wear a costume and politely pose for a photo isn't easy — we're giving away a $20 gift card to one winner. Since we're a Spokane-based paper, we thought it appropriate to choose a gift card to a locally owned business catering to pets, and to a resident in our readership area. We intentionally left the rules pretty fuzzy at the beginning of the contest this year, because as with last year — who knew how many submissions we'd actually get? Surprisingly, the contest again received many entries from way outside of the Inland Northwest, which is pretty awesome.
This isn't to say we didn't appreciate all the out-of-town submissions. Considering the success of this contest for two years in a row, we're already planning to up the ante next year and get some better prizes lined up. It seems dressing up pets for Halloween has become just as big of a deal as dressing your kids or yourself. The proof is in the results of this little contest, and others hosted by major cat culture sites like Catster.
And now, the costumed kitties!
And now, announcing the winner of this year's Cat Friday Halloween Cats photo contest, Oliver the Cat-osaurus Rex, from Spokane! Congratulations to Oliver and his owner, Chelsey. Please email me ([email protected]) with your top three favorite Inland Northwest pet supply stores, and we'll do our best to get you a $20 gift card to one of them.
Thank you to ALL cats who entered this year. We hope readers enjoy this year's line-up of fabulously costumed kitties. As a disclosure, Inlander staffers who entered did not qualify for the prize. For ethical reasons, we also did not include submissions by those who personally know this writer in the final contestant pool.
How can we make next year's contest even better? Please send us your suggestions or leave them in the comments. Also, remember to keep your cats indoors and safe tonight as festivities take place around your neighborhood!
With No-Shave-November starting in a few days, it's timely that Spokane-based startup Beardbrand, which sells products catering to the "urban beardsman," is competing on the Emmy-winning reality investment show Shark Tank. The episode airs tomorrow night, Oct. 31, at 9 pm, so those who choose to stay in and pass out candy should be able to catch its premiere on ABC.
Beardbrand CEO Eric Bandholz, who has since moved to Austin, Texas, is appearing on the show to introduce the company's mission and products — high-quality beard oils, mustache waxes and beard grooming accessories — to Shark Tank's investors, aka "sharks," who then have the option to invest in a percentage of the company.
Beardbrand's online store was launched last year, after Bandholz and company co-founders Lindsey Reinders and Jeremy McGee worked together during Startup Weekend Spokane. The company currently carries more than 25 products and has reached $1.5 million in annual sales.
The details and results of Bandholz's pitch are being kept secret until after the episode's first airing. It will be available to watch for free online one week after it airs on TV, or soon after it airs for viewers who sign into ABC's site through their TV provider.
Facebook and Twitter seem to be overflowing with other local media outlets' postings about ghosts and supposedly haunted Inland Northwest locales over the past couple weeks. With the big October holiday less than a day away, we decided it timely to revisit the Inlander's archives of creepy coverage, both lighthearted and serious, to get in the mood for All Hallow's Eve.
In the past year, freelance videographer Nathan Brand put together several heavily researched mini-documentaries for a short series he dubbed "Unsolved Secrets of Lost Spokane."
Episode 1 takes viewers into the basement of the old Dutch's pawn shop building to see its historic and creepy bear murals that once decorated a speakeasy and card room there.
Episode 2 is short primer on one of the region's earliest serial killers, known as "Bluebeard."
Brand also dug deep to uncover all the grisly details about early Spokane's infamous axe-murdering teen, Sidney Sloane.
Also earlier this fall, Brand took his fascination with unsolved murders and Spokane's darker past even deeper to investigate the unnatural death of prominent public figure, Spokane fire chief Al O'Connor, who unexpectedly dropped dead more than 30 years ago. The cause of his death still remains a mystery.
In time for the Halloween season last year, we also sought to enlighten readers about some of the Lilac City's best urban legends, like the haunted "Thousand Steps" at Greenwood Cemetery, some creepy, unexplained happenings at the Dania Furniture building, and downtown's resident theater spirits.
Our fascination with the lesser-seen and super-creepy underground sites around the region doesn't end there. Photographer Stephen Schlange was on a mission last fall to document what lies behind some of the city's locked doors that only a few are privy to.
Back in the early aughts, then-Inlander staffer Mike Corrigan penned a fascinating first-person account of his discoveries beneath Spokane's downtown streets in a piece titled "Speakeasy Spelunking."
Later, Corrigan went back underground to seeking for evidence of Spokane's Cold War-era nuclear bomb shelters.
Another past staffer uncovered the haunted histories of Spokane's most famed ghost-ridden sites — The Davenport Hotel and the Patsy Clark Mansion.
More bells and whistles seem to be expected every year in the name of holiday traditions. Gathering a few pieces of candy wearing a sheet with eyeball holes doesn't cut it anymore. We need convincing haunted houses. We need to feel absolute panic and terror in corn mazes. We need to stuff a pillowcase full of candy during condensed and safer trick-or-treating escapades, instead of ringing a few neighborhood doorbells around the block. We need to dress up, and we need to go all out.
HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH?
The expectations for Halloween are high. The shock value and big bucks are basically a given, but where will we draw the line? Scarywood, tagged with the line "never sleep again," costs almost $40 a pop at the gate on Saturday nights. Not only are events and attractions breaking the bank, but according to the National Retail Federation, Halloween 2014 will set the record for the highest number of costumes purchased by Americans. The average person is expected to spend more than $75 on Halloween, contributing to the holiday's total spending of $7.4 billion. Twenty-three million pet owners in the U.S. are also expected to dress up their furry friends. Having Oct. 31 land on a Friday night only amps up the intensity and expectations of A-game costumes and parties.
Looking at the Party City's online page featuring the most popular over-the-top costumes for adult women, you'll see a sexy flapper, a sexy circus ringmaster, sexy cop, sexy "spider girl," sexy Wonder Woman — you get the idea. On the site's featured "sexy" tab, costumes sexualize everything from peacocks and sailors to pirates, school girls, skeletons, prisoners and Native American "princesses."
In light of the immense popularity of Disney's Frozen, Amazon's bestselling costume this year is the film's princess character Elsa. Out of the online retailer's overall 10 best-selling products, five are inspired by Frozen. Has Halloween perhaps become more than a spooky or goofy dress-up night, and instead a competition and expression of your kid's favorite movie franchise-turned-product?
Who will make the move away from this super-sized celebration trend? Of course, a collection of cavity-fighting local dentists. Sweet-crazed kiddos on Halloween often chow down until the all that remains are the toothbrushes they received from the neighborhood rebel parents and stale candy from brands they haven't heard of. With the exponential growth of consumerism and processed sweets, many dentist offices are now offering a bold alternative to the Halloween-candy hype.
Dentist offices around the Inland Northwest are catching on to growing candy giveaways, trading money for trick-or-treaters' goodies. These fairly confiscated sweets are then sent overseas to U.S. military troops through a program called Operation Gratitude. It's a win-win for kids, parents and their dentists — and kids can still enjoy this Halloween tradition, even keeping a modest amount of treats before they cash in, should they choose.
Participating dental practices in the Inland Northwest include KiDDs Dental, DaBell Orthodontics, North View Family Dental, Studio Smiles Northwest, Kool Smiles Spokane, Kidsmile Dental, Northview Family Dental and 8 Days a Week Dental.
Shannon Wells at Northview Family Dental hopes that clinics throughout the community continue the growing trend, and make candy giveaways an annual tradition. To her, this project lifts the morale of soldiers while making kids feel a sense of fulfillment through their donations. Kids can even write heartfelt letters and cards for the soldiers when they stop by to drop off the candy.
Perhaps our society will never fully return to the days of homemade costumes, watching Jamie Lee Curtis run from Michael Myers and dancing to "Monster Mash," but at least these dentists are offering ways to scale back the excess a little bit.
The downtown Spokane interactive art space Laboratory is looking for applicants for its new artist residency program. The program calls for artists with a particular interest in interactive art, or "art that responds to the presence of interaction of the viewer," says Laboratory founder and director Alan Chatham.
Chatham founded Laboratory in 2013 as an alternative space for artists to create and show interactive pieces.
“Interactive art as a fine-art medium is really just kind of beginning to take off,” Chatham says. “So right now there’s not a whole lot of support for it. That’s why we’re kind of hoping to be one of those first organizations to really support and help interactive artists produce work.”
Successful applicants to the residency are to begin working there next month. Laboratory will house the two artists in a recently renovated downtown apartment (located above The Bartlett, at 228 W. Sprague; residents also get free access to all Bartlett concerts during their stay) for 1-3 months, in addition to access to a 200-square-foot studio, mentorship from Chatham, and a monthly stipend. In return, resident artists are expected to produce at least one piece of art for display in the storefront gallery, located at 301 W. Main. While Chatham is personally funding the project for now, he's also starting to look for donations.
So far, applications for the residency have been light, with the majority coming from Europe.
"The [interactive art] scene in Europe is a lot more vibrant, I think," he says.
Artists can apply for one of three focus areas, or "tracks," that provide themes for the residency. The production track is "for people who have a really cool idea and want to make something," Chatham says. The research track includes brainstorming new tools and techniques for interactive art, while the learning track is designed for artists who want to take part in the residency but need to hone their skills. All three were developed with the development of interactive art in mind.
Interested applicants can apply at the residency's website before the first residency slot deadline of Saturday, Nov. 1.
Two volumes of the Heritage Edition of the St. John's Bible will be available for viewing this Sunday, Oct. 26, at Spokane's historic St. John's Cathedral. The Heritage Edition is a high-quality copy of the original St. John's Bible, the illuminated manuscript created by calligrapher Donald Jackson. While these may be reproductions, that doesn't mean they're any smaller than the original. Each volume of the Heritage Edition measures two-feet tall by three-feet wide, and weighs close to 20 pounds. Whew.
An illuminated manuscript is characterized by fancy borders and colorful images in addition to the text on the page, which is usually done in calligraphy.
Commissioned in 1998 and completed in 2011, the original St. John's Bible resides at St. John's University in Collegeville, Minnesota. According to a press release, it's the "first handwritten, illuminated Bible to be commissioned since the invention of the printing press."
While the St. John's Bible does travel for display at museums, the Heritage Edition was created to serve as more of a "traveling version," to allow for more access to the book for religious and educational institutions. The original set of tomes were handwritten using quills and ink on vellum, a paper made from calfskin, while the Heritage Edition was created using traditional printing techniques on cotton paper. For the illuminations, scribes used a combination of gold leaf, stamps and stencils and powdered pigments for color. The Library of Congress website features some pictures of the original hand-created edition.
Gonzaga University also owns a full set of the Heritage Edition, and keeps one volume on display in the student chapel on campus.
A lecture on the creation of the original St. John's Bible is scheduled for this Sunday at 9:15 am. On display will be copies of the Gospels and The Book of Acts for viewing between 8-10 am masses at the cathedral.
Early submissions for the Inlander's 2014 Short Fiction Contest have started to roll in. You now have just a month left to knock out that masterpiece, so keep the entries coming and spread the word: We're giving out cash!
Sure, your writing is about the art — carefully crafting those soul-penetrating truths, each aching for immortality in ink. But money's nice, too.
The theme this year is "Spirits," however you would like to define or interpret it.
We try to keep the contest rules simple. Submit original, unpublished stories of less than 2,000 words by Nov. 21. All stories must mention at least one local landmark. Writers can submit more than one story.
The Inlander will award winning writers a total of $500 in cash prizes. Top stories will also run in our Dec. 25 issue.
Send entries or questions to me at: [email protected]
For some writerly inspiration, set aside some time to peruse these interviews with influential authors on methods and motivations over at The Paris Review.
As you finish the details of your epic costume ensemble and stock up on goodies to give away to eager children at your door next Friday night, don't overlook the sheer number and of local haunted house events for all ages happening this weekend and next. Pretty soon, if not already, we'll start seeing Christmas decorations and holiday sale commercials on TV, so enjoy the spooky season while it lasts...
KING FAMILY HAUNTED HOUSE | An annual tradition for this Halloween-loving Spokane family, their haunted house opens this weekend and runs throughout next week. It's rated PG-13, and entry is free, though donations are always gladly accepted. Open Oct. 24-30, from 7-9 pm each night. Located at 15604 N. Freya. facebook.com/thekingfamilyhauntedhouse
WEST VALLEY CITY SCHOOL HAUNTED HOUSE | The school hosts its 6th annual haunted house event in its 100-year-old building. Proceeds support school programs and field trips. Recommended for ages 11 and up. Open Oct. 24-25, from 6:30-10 pm. $5/person. Located at 8920 E. Valleyway Ave.
VALLEY MISSION HAUNTED POOL | The City of Spokane Valley puts a fun spin on the traditional haunted house, transforming the pool deck and the locker rooms of the pool into a spooky setting. It's geared toward kids ages 12 and up. Oct. 24-25, from 7:30-10 pm. $3/person, or $2 with a canned food donation to benefit Second Harvest. Located at 11123 E. Mission Ave.
POST FALLS LIONS HAUNTED HOUSE | This annually organized event always offers new features each year. Proceeds support the Lions' mission of providing scholarships and financial assistance through its sight and hearing programs. Open Oct. 24-31; Fri-Sat, from 6 pm to midnight and Sun-Thur, from 6-10 pm. Admission is $7/person, or $5 with two non-perishable food items. Located at Fourth and Post, in Post Falls, Idaho. tinyurl.com/kly5dvv
THE HOLLOW HAUNTED HOUSE | This marks the second year this locally created haunted house is open to the public. Open Oct. 31, from 7-11 pm. Admission is a non-perishable food donation to Second Harvest. Located at 1927 W. Carlisle Ave. facebook.com/thehollowhauntedhouse
SCARYWOOD | North Idaho's Silverwood Theme Park goes all out for Halloween each year, transforming the otherwise cheery park into a freaky, scream-inducing site of terror. It's open on Thursdays from 6-11:30 pm; Fri-Sat from 7 pm-1 am, except Halloween weekend, (Oct. 31 and Nov. 1) hours are from 7 pm-midnight. Admission ranges from $21-$40. scarywoodhaunt.com
RIVERSIDE STATE PARK ZOMBIE HIKE | Though not a traditional haunted house, this annual event is equally creepy as the undead take to the nighttime forest during a half-mile hike. The one-night event is on Sat, Oct. 25, from 6-9 pm. Admission is $10/adults and $5/kids ages 3-12, which includes one flashlight per group and glow sticks for the kids. No Discover Pass is required. Located at 7903 W. Missoula Rd., Nine Mile Falls.
CREEPY HALLOW | The grounds of the Northwest Renaissance Faire also take on a scarier atmosphere for several nights of the Halloween season, now for the 12th year. Open Oct. 24-25 and Oct. 31, from 7 pm-midnight. Admission is $5/person. Located at 6493 Hwy. 291, Nine Mile Falls. creepyhallow.net
GHOULS & GAMES HAUNTED HOUSE | A locally organized Halloween-night event, including a kid-friendly haunted house, games, a dance party and prizes, as well as live music. Oct. 31, from 6-9 pm. Free admission, or $15/family of four for an all-access event pass. Located at 11420 E. Sprague. the5ifthelement.com
This Saturday, Oct. 25, marks the fourth annual Reforest Spokane Day, hosted by the Lands Council in conjunction with "National Make a Difference Day."
Hundreds of volunteers are expected to help plant trees along area waterways, with the goal of creating a more ecologically-healthy city.
Thousands of trees have been planted since the event's inception in 2011, according to Lands Council community outreach and volunteer coordinator Chelsea Updegrove. More than 500 volunteers took part in the event last year.
“It’s a great opportunity for community members to come out and make a difference in their very own Inland Northwest,” she says.
Updegrove says planting native trees along rivers and streams helps to increase water quality, mitigate erosion, create habitat and beautifies the city. In particular, volunteers will be planting "riverside repair trees," whose roots can handle a heavier, nearby water flow, like ponderosa pines, willows and cottonwoods.
"Essentially, the impetus was a need for the Spokane River to be more clean, healthy and viable for the future," Updegrove says. "One of the ways we can do that is by planting trees."
For this year, locations include two spots in the Latah/Hangman Creek watershed as well as Garden Springs Creek and Valleyford Park. Updegrove says this location has been the focus of Lands Council projects for some time.
"We have a grant to repair a specific number of miles in this really sensitive area, and so we tried to do this as part of projects we're already doing," she says.
While Reforest Spokane shares a date with National Make a Difference Day, there's a very specific reason the trees are planted in the fall and before it snows. Updegrove says it's better to plant trees in their dormant stage, in order to make the most of the natural precipitation in the fall. If the trees are planted in the spring or summer they can go into a state of shock as well as suffer from a lack of hydration during the Inland Northwest's dry summers.
While different species of trees have different success rates, Updegrove says "if they’re planted well and the volunteers give them enough water while planting, which usually we have very conscientious volunteers, the trees do great."
Volunteers who sign up to help this Saturday will be assigned a location, and should meet there are the event's start at 9 am. Those helping should bring a shovel, gloves and an empty gallon jug or two for watering. Coffee and treats are to be provided.
If you can't make it Saturday, Updegrove says the Lands Council is always looking for volunteers to help water the new trees as they become established, especially in the summer.
"Volunteers are some of the lifeblood of our organization," she says. "Just give me an email and I’ll put you to work.”
Those interested can register online to help out with Reforest Spokane Day.
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