As Halloween approaches at Heronswood Garden in Kingston here on the Kitsap Peninsula, the ancestral land of the S’Klallam people, a 9-foot-tall ogress named Slapu, with long claws and sharp teeth, will be on the prowl. During Haunted Heronswood, from Oct. 20-21, the garden’s trails will come alive with skeletons and goblins including six larger-than-life S’Klallam cultural legends, for a unique Pacific Northwest Halloween experience.
It takes weeks to handcraft and paint the figures, which are born from the garden out of native grasses, cedar and bamboo. QR codes link to each of their stories, some of which are recorded by tribal members. They are a testament to the heritage and culture of the Port Gamble S’Klallam tribe, who purchased Heronswood Garden in 2012 and restored it after years of neglect.
Kingston-based Derr Heating and Cooling is proud to share the land of enchantment which haunts visitors around this time of year when ancient, mythical creatures come to life.
Hidden throughout the garden, amid illuminated cedars, you’ll see and learn about the stories of Black-tailed Deer, who stole fire for the people; hungry Kekaiax who schemes to call salmon to him; as well as Raven, Crow, Coyote — and Slapu. Like the best folk tales, they often end with a twist, humbling the arrogant, careless or greedy.
Along the journey through Haunted Heronswood’s gauntlet of carved and illuminated pumpkins, the bravest can test themselves on the Trail of Terror in the woodland garden.
Costumed staff and volunteers will be on hand to answer questions. Bring your bucket or bag to the trick-or-treat stations, and you can fill up with tasty food, local brews and toasty beverages for purchase at the events tent.
A 15-acre botanical garden by day, Heronswood Garden will be in its autumn glory this weekend, with maples, hydrangeas and many rare plants competing for attention with the ghosts and ghouls. The creepiest by far is “dead men’s fingers,” (Decaisnea fargesii), whose pewter-blue, fingerlike fruits stand out against butter-yellow foliage and reach out to unwary visitors.
Haunted Heronswood Garden makes a festive climax to the garden’s year. Starting in November, Heronswood will only be open on weekends until spring and summer hours return in April 2024.
Haunted Heronswood Garden Information:
Location: 7530 NE 288th St. Kingston, WA 98346
Admission: Free with admission to Heronswood Garden ($10 Adults, $5 ages 7-17, free for children 6 and younger)
Free for Heronswood Garden Members
Fredd for Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribal Community Members
Questions: Please call 360-297-9620 or visit www.heronswoodgarden.org