Across the nation many of our traditional Halloween events and gatherings look a little different this year. Indoor Haunted houses, trick or treating door to door, costume dance parties, and more have been canceled due to COVID-19. However, in Big Sky Montana the jack-o’lanterns continue to smile and burn bright. Merchants decorate their storefronts with spooky fall flair and costumes (second only to COVID and the coming ski season) are the talk of the town.
“To me Halloween is about fun, creativity and reinventing yourself,” says Erik Morrison, Town Center’s Marketing & Events Manager. “That is exactly the approach our team has taken as we’ve worked with the Gallatin Health Department to adjust the festival and keep our community safe through the pandemic this holiday. By focusing on the positive and looking to expand upon and reinvent the things we can do. This is how we’ll keep Big Sky’s Halloween spirt alive.”
This two-day Halloween celebration kicks off with the Haunted Peaks Geocache Mystery presented by Black Diamond. The community is invited to help solve the mystery of The Disappearing Tram Star. The story unfolds as the first clue is announced at dusk Friday, October 30 on Facebook and Instagram. Follow the clues to find the thieves and claim the reward. Black Diamond has put up a bounty of gear, split amongst the teams who bring the thieves to justice. Successful teams can collect their bounty at the new Black Diamond store opening event on November 12 at 99 Town Center Ave., Unit A1.
“We are so excited about this Big Sky themed geocache mystery and look forward to all of the adventures that will be had!” says Devin Battersby, Director of Retail. “Black Diamond is looking forward to being a part of the Big Sky community, and providing all of us a safe way to enjoy a holiday that we all love.
The cornerstone and original inspiration for Haunted Peaks, Lone Peak Cinema’s Annual Horrorfest Film Festival, will be available online all weekend long. With curated playlists for families and more mature horror cinephiles, Horrorfest aims to feed the need for fun and fright. The owners of the cinema Scott and Sally Fisher were eagerly expecting their second child and preparing to sell the business when COVID hit. With all of this many thought the film festival was sure to be canceled, but similar to their favorite zombie movie they brought Horrorfest back from the dead.
“The show must go on!” says Sally Fisher. “Although we will dearly miss sharing screams, frights, and laughs with everyone inside the theaters, we are excited to continue the tradition of Big Sky’s multi-night horror film festival in a virtual setting. We hope the diversity of films provided by us and some former team members will bring joy and scares to your household regardless of age and encourages you to connect to your cinephile friends for discussions.”
Traditionally Lone Peak Cinema has been host to the Pumpkin King & Queen Carving Competition. This year’s event will be held virtually. Contestants can post a photo of their best pumpkin carving and tag Big Sky Town Center for a chance to win prizes and be crowned 2020 Pumpkin King & Queen. Pumpkin submission posts must be made by midnight October 30. Winners will be announced on Halloween morning.
This event also partners with the annual Great Pumpkin Giveaway on October 24 at Big Sky Town Center’s Fire Pit Park from 12-4 PM. The community is invited to come get their pumpkins and support the great efforts of Big Sky Community Food Bank. Make a canned food donation and pick out your prize pumpkin (soup preferred, 3-5 cans per pumpkin, limited to 3 pumpkins per family). Last year’s event raised almost 500 lbs of food for local families!
“The Big Sky Chamber never hesitates to support this local event because it speaks to community and helps bring us together,” said Candace Strauss, CEO of the Big Sky Chamber. “Now more than ever we need to hang on to our traditions, although they may look different, as ways to keep us all connected.”
Due to COVID-19 all donations must be made via curbside pickup stations along Lone Peak Dr. at Fire Pit Park and guests need to be masked to receive their pumpkins. For more info. please contact Sarah Gaither at firstname.lastname@example.org or (406) 995-3088.
In years past the streets of Big Sky have come alive with block parties, big bands and costumed party goers thanks to the help of the Big Sky Real Estate Company. They brought the electric sounds of BoomBox to Town Center Avenue in 2018 and Magic Beans in 2019 to christen the newly opened Town Center Plaza at the Wilson Hotel. Such large gatherings are off the menu this season, but in true Big Sky fashion the show must go on.
“It has been a true pleasure to be a part of planning and implementing the Haunted Peaks Festival in past years, particularly the Friday night concert, which is an incredible community gathering,” says Shawna Winter, Managing Broker at The Big Sky Real Estate Company. “With the changes this year, it’s disappointing to not be gathering as we would like in the Town Center Plaza, but we know the music will return in celebrations to come.”
In the past locals Chance Lenay and Jennifer Steele were front row at these shows. This Halloween weekend they a step up from the streets and take the virtual stage with a Facebook Live broadcast from Blue Buddha Sushi.
Jennifer Steele (aka Jenn-N-Juice) started DJing in 2011 at small clubs in Florida, eventually playing at major night clubs and festivals in Orlando and Miami. Chance Lenay (aka TAKEaCHANCE) started turning heads in the local music scene with his recent performances on the Friday Afternoon Cub.
“For the Halloween party I’ll be playing some funky electronic music with some fun halloween vibes thrown in,” says Steele. “Chance and I have also made a few additions to our light setup and look forward to stepping up our production for this event.”
“I’m looking forward to setting a dark and dirty Halloween dance vibe for Town Center,” says Lenay. “Put on your best disguise Big Sky and let’s go!”
There are six events scheduled for the Haunted Peaks Halloween weekend. Most of them will be online and free to the public. For the most current updates and listing of events please click here.