Our group of trick-or-treaters, minus the parents, getting ready to head out to Spanish Wells, Halloween 2014.
Two Halloweens ago, we enjoyed a very nice night with friends trick-or-treating with our kids on the island of Spanish Wells. We took the water taxi over to the island where we rented golf carts and drove up and down the streets stopping at decorated and festive houses.
Typical Halloween fare from Spanish Wells, including chips, juice pouches, and candies. 2014
The people of Spanish Wells hand out very unusual Halloween treats, such as juice boxes, bags of chips (expired mostly), weird candy (mostly gross), and pieces of fruit. By the end of the night, the kids were full to bursting of sugary chub drinks and questionable candies.
Here are the kids headed to one of the festive houses on Spanish Wells. Notice the golf cart with the box of chips in the back. Not only do people wait outside their houses to hand out candy instead of ringing the bell, people also drive around with their "buggies" handing out goodies to those in the streets. The treats come to you! 2014
When it was time to go home, we took the water taxi back across to Eleuthera where we hopped in our cars and drove the 45 minutes home. It was a long but very fun night with friends.
Some Halloween-inspired artwork created by Linda, Paige, Phoebe, Josh, and Paula. 2015
This past Halloween of 2015, Jerry's parents were in town so we wanted to share with them the unique Halloween experience of Spanish Wells. I'd reserved two golf carts weeks in advance and even called to confirm our reservation.
Can you see where this is headed?
No. You can't.
Waiting at the dock for the water taxi to take us over to Spanish Wells for trick-or-treating. 2015
After arriving at the dock to take the water taxi over, we were told that no water taxis were going to be running after dark taking people back to Eleuthera. What? How can the trick-or-treaters get back after their Halloween binge-fest?
They can't. That's how.
It was only then that we heard that Spanish Wells-ers did not like how big their Halloween had become what with so many people coming from all over Eleuthera. They didn't like the chaos and they were determined not to have it this year.
So they paid the "Knightrider" not to "ride" after dark; (he is usually the only taxi to go between Eleuthera and Spanish Wells after dark). They hoped with no way home, less people would go across to the island.
They were right. We saw car after car, dozens and dozens of dressed up local Bahamian children leave to go back home with tears in their eyes, full of disappointment that their Spanish Wells Halloween was ruined.
I know it sounds harsh. But having lived in Del Rio on the Mexico border, I understand what the people of Spanish Wells were concerned about. Every Halloween in Del Rio, thousands of people flock over from Mexico to trick-or-treat in the affluent neighborhoods of Del Rio. Most were in costume, but many weren't, and more often than not, there were packs of people being driven from one house to the other, literally 50 yards, before flooding the front porches of the participating houses. Due to the chaos caused by the traffic and thousands of people, many of our friends who lived in that area would come onto the Air Force base to trick-or-treat in the relative calm.
And so it was, on a smaller scale, in Spanish Wells.
So, did we pack it in and go home?
If you said yes, then you definitely don't know us very well.
My kids (on the left) sported custom-made Minecraft heads and baskets. The three local S. W. kids on the right had store bought. 2015
Instead of taking the chance that we would all be stuck overnight in Spanish Wells, we decided to hedge our bets and get our own transportation back to Eleuthera if needed. Jerry and his mom drove the hour back to our house and picked up our boat. The kids, Jerry's dad, and I headed across to Spanish Wells.
Wouldn't you know it, but the golf car place that was closed had not put our name on any of the reserved golf carts. (I guess they figured we wouldn't actually be coming across if their ban-Eleutherans plan worked. They were wrong.) Fortunately, our landlords live and work on Spanish Wells, so they were able to call the company and arrange to have someone meet us with the keys.
Now we had our cart; let the trick-or-treating begin!
(Kids, remember the guy dressed up like Superman driving around on a scooter, cape-a-flyin?)
As it was still quite early in the evening, we didn't get to visit too many houses. The crowds were noticeably less and more subdued. Just a night of locals visiting their local friends, but in costume. (I should mention, the adults were just as likely to be in costumes as the children. They really get into Halloween on S. W.)
After a few hours of driving around and completely filling their Minecraft-themed goodie box with juice chubs and chips, Jerry called to say that they were at the dock and were about to head over to S. W.
In the dark. Without a light on the boat. Through a shallow channel marred with pilings and underwater obstacles. With only the flashlight on Jerry's iPhone. With my mother-in-law.
Oh, yeah, by the way, the boat trailer broke as he was putting the boat into the water, so we wouldn't be able to trailer the boat after coming back to Eleuthera.
This night just kept on getting better and better......
As we've done so many countless times, we made a quick plan, and as usual, we relied on friends for aid. We called our good friends who live just across a small bridge from Spanish Wells, on Russell Island, and explained our predicament. They told us that yes, the Knightrider wasn't "riding", but there was one water taxi making the nighttime run, so we didn't need our boat after all.
But, what was done was done. So we decided to leave our boat in the boat slip our friends kept their boats and take the water taxi back across. (Boats are safe to be left in Spanish Wells. Way not safe in Eleuthera waters.)
I was supposed to meet Jerry and Linda at their boat slip, but as I couldn't find it in the dark, I ended up driving up and down the harbour street, looking for their boats and fussing about this that and the other.
It wasn't such a mature move on my part.
My fussing paid off, however, because Jerry, who was slowly motoring through the no-wake zone to the boat slip, heard me and called out to me so I could see where I was supposed to go.
We rendezvoused with Jerry and his mom and all together we went to the dock, boarded the water taxi, and headed for Eleuthera.
It was quite an adventure, especially for Jerry and Linda. They now share a common, harrowing, night-boating experience neither are sure to forget.
Guess what Linda gave Jerry for Christmas that year?
A searchlight bright enough to light a path, either on land or water, for miles.