Two local traditions team up for ‘Monster’ Halloween

Published 6:53 pm Friday, October 27, 2017

Riley Simpson painstakingly spruces up a vampire portrait while, nearby, her daughter Raven crafts cemetery decorations, all in preparation for a magical Halloween evening on East Main Street in Washington.

The Simpsons, along with cohort Jonathan Clayborne, are gearing up for their 11th official season producing Monsters on Main. They’re also working in collaboration with Junius Swain and his traditional Junius’s Haunted Graveyard this year.

That’s a lot of spooks, ghosts and goblins.

“I think we’ll have more action between the two events than ever before,” Clayborne predicted. “We’ll probably draw around 700 people.”

ARTIST AT WORK: Riley Simpson enjoys an afternoon of preparations for Monsters on Main, which is held outside her Washington home. (Kevin Scott Cutler/Daily News)

The festivities kick off at 5 p.m. Tuesday evening, with a bewitching performance by Robin Potts and her haunted violin. The fun continues until around 9 p.m. The night’s hijinks are offered free of charge and everyone is welcome.

“We’re going full throttle,” Riley Simpson said of this year’s event. “We’re going to have Ruth’s House here, and they’ll be accepting donations for face painting, and they’re also doing a 50/50 raffle.”

Monsters on Main was born of the camaraderie between the Simpsons and Clayborne as well as their shared interests.

“We love theater and we love Halloween, so we thought this would be the perfect marriage … and also, no one would let us into their home to do a haunted house,” Riley Simpson said with a laugh.

As for Swain, he’s been entertaining Halloween celebrants since 1989. Like the Monsters on Main folks, he distributes candy to the young trick-or-treaters while doing his best to frighten their elders with old-fashioned hauntings.

“It all just clicks together in some sick way,” said Swain, who has been collecting props for decades.

According to Riley Simpson, it’s usually the adults who can’t handle the more realistic aspects of Halloween night on East Main.

“The children are bold, fearless,” she noted. “It’s the adults who get freaked out!”

As the saying goes, it’s the early bird who gets the worm and the same thing holds true for candy connoisseurs Halloween night. Don’t wait too late, advised Raven Simpson.

“Sometimes we run out of candy,” she said. “One year I gave out potato chips and apples, and I was this close to passing out nail polish.”

A WASHINGTON HALLOWEEN: The most festive place to observe Halloween in Washington is East Main Street, where Monsters on Main and Junius’s Haunted Graveyard are teaming up to provide thrills and chills the evening of Oct. 31. (Kevin Scott Cutler/Daily News)