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Go haunting for community benefit

Tom Geil's business aims to avoid the commercial side of Halloween holiday
by: Courtesy photo Business owner Tom Geil is hosting a Halloween event that features "Hursula."

Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through Oct. 30, an Oregon City pumpkin patch will feature free scarecrow-making, pumpkin-carving, costume and recipe competitions while supporting local nonprofit causes.

Business owner Tom Geil says that Halloween is the best holiday of the year not only for partying, but also for helping out the community. The giveaway of ribbons and prizes for participating in judging contests reflects Geil's commitment to keeping the holiday accessible and locally oriented.

Don't go looking to purchase costumes or masks, just party supplies and pumpkins, at the Ghoul Gallery Pumpkin Patch at Serres Farm, 14620 S. Forsythe Road in Oregon City.

'I tried to cover all the bases to see how we could get people to think creatively and stay away from the standard store-bought stuff,' Geil said.

On Oct. 8 and 9, the Ghoul Gallery will also feature a Halloween Bizarre. Vendors who create everything from hair clips to pet costumes to chocolates will have booths of handmade items.

'We're all winning because we're featuring some products, and we're helping charities at the same time,' Geil said.

Among the charitable causes that will be present are bins for the Oregon Food Bank, a booth for Angels in the Outfield's work with children in abuse situations and the Oregon City High School Band, raising funds for a trip to New York this November.

It has been Geil's lifelong dream to open a pumpkin patch and bring more unique fun to the Halloween holidays, and he credits Serres Farm with providing him with that opportunity. Patti and Dan Serres are making their century farm available to Oregon City Commissioner and Ghost Tour Aficionado Rocky Smith, who is creating a Monster Midway of games for kids.

Guests are invited to bring their cameras to take free photos with 'Hursula' a retired hearse that Geil displays at car shows from Oregon City to Seaside.

The Ghoul Gallery is still seeking volunteers for the various days of activities to help guide children events, the monster midway, direct visitors to the pumpkin patch. Volunteers will receive a spooky T-shirt, and discounts to the Ghoul Gallery store.

For more information on competitions, events, directions and hours view website www.OC-PumpkinPatch.com .