Last weekend, my family and I got our Halloween on. Every year, we go pumpkin picking and hay riding and start decorating for this spookiest of seasons. And this year, we’re adding a new level to our Halloween celebrations.

On October 1, I began my term as president of the Kiwanis Club of Lincoln City, and my first official act was to bring about a board vote to take on sponsorship of a local Halloween event that is very special to me and very important to our community.

This event began in 2008 when the late Kip Ward started hosting The Haunted Hotel at the Historic Anchor Inn. The early years were held at the hotel and featured events for the very young as well as those more inclined to the spooky side of the Halloween Street.

When the event outgrew the hotel, it was renamed the Spooky Spectacular and moved to Taft Elementary School. Last year saw the biggest turnout yet.

I was involved in the inception of the event, and when Nola was born, it was where she spent her first Halloween. We have gone every year since (except for the one year we were in Eugene).   

As long-time readers of this blog (or any writer who has attended one of our past Lincoln City workshops) know, Kip was like family to me and a very close friend of Dean and Kris. His sudden death in February 2018 was a shock and a blow to many. We miss him very, very much.

To be able to start my Kiwanis presidency by honoring Kip… Well, let’s just say I know he’ll be with me in spirit.

It’s also one more reminder that life is short, and we must spend as much quality time with our loved ones as we can—while we can.

This was the inspiration behind one of my favorite rewards in the WMG Holiday Spectacular 2019 Kickstarter. Those who pledge this reward (at $60 or more) can share the joy of reading the 35 calendar holiday stories with two friends. It’s a great way to celebrate the season together, especially if your friends don’t live nearby. Click here to learn more.

Friends, fun, holidays. All of these things remind me of Kip (with whom I spent many wonderful holidays). And you can bet I’m going to be sure to enjoy this holiday season with my family and friends as I help keep Kip’s memory alive.

I know he’ll be with me in spirit.

Allyson Longueira is publisher of WMG Publishing. She is an award-winning writer, editor and designer, working mother, and brain tumor survivor.