Halloween, Clearwater-style

By Jacinta Early, Onboard Educator

Jack-o-lanterns on deck

Jack-o-lanterns on deck

As an Australian, Halloween isn’t really a “thing” for us;  it’s not our holiday. Sure, in more recent years we have picked up the idea of it, and according to my parents back in Australia there was some organized zombie walk during the night that had random people walking around neighborhoods. As a child, I never went trick-or-treating, carved lanterns or played Halloween games. I have been to Halloween parties with my friends and ate a bunch of candy, but this was all after I had left high school.

Ever since I moved here, I have been way too excited to do Halloween in America, and wanted to do it on the boat! Unfortunately, Halloween was on my day off, so I didn’t get to do the educational sail that day in costume. But the crew had their own Halloween party after dinner to make sure I got my Halloween experience.


(l-r) Peter, Zac, Emily, Caitlin and Amanda going for the doughnuts hanging off deckbrushes off the boom.

Pumpkin carving had happened the day prior, so I was able to see the wonderful lanterns that the crew had all made. I spent about 30 minutes totally mesmerized by how beautiful they all were and see how they were all made. I don’t think I had ever seen a pumpkin turned into a jack-o-lantern before, and needless to say, I was in awe of it way longer than anyone thought.

The night started with a jam session on shore and also in the main cabin. While the jam was happening, we had the arrival of former crew from this season and from previous seasons. Once we had everyone, the two games for the night consisted of apple bobbing and hanging doughnuts from a string; both which were to be done without hands.

It was pretty hilarious to see how competitive the crew was in regard to eating as many doughnuts within such a small area. Many tactics such as doing a chin up to reach a high-up doughnut to beat the taller people, spreading your arms out wide to block people, and a headlock to disable the competition were popular choices. By the end, we were all in tears because we were laughing so hard and couldn’t believe how much fun we were having.

The apple bobbing caused more hesitation, as it was cold and so was the water. At first a few of the crew went in with confidence, but after one or two attempts, they gave up. The first to be successful was the other onboard educator, Isaac, who proved that the “dunk your entire head in the pot” technique was the way to go. I went not long after and decided to use Isaac’s winning technique. Fortunately, my costume included swimwear underneath, so I had no qualms about getting wet. My first try I got an apple and it tasted like victory. By the end, everyone had successfully grabbed themselves an apple, with a longtime volunteer Neil winning by getting an apple in less than 5 seconds.

apple bobby

Emily bobbing for an apple; Zac (former apprentice), Caitlin (deckhand), and Maura (education intern) watching on.

The night ended with trick-or-treating to each other’s bunks. Depending on whose bunk you ended up at would depend on what you had to do to get a treat. Some included telling your best elementary school joke, naming a song, doing a rap, doing your best Australian accent, or specifying if you would like a compliment, or a (Hersey’s) kiss?

After the trick-or-treating came to an end, the crew was playing cards while munching all the delicious candy — and a not so tasty rotten egg flavored candy from the Bo’sun Sam. I left the boat with a giant grin on my face about my first REAL Halloween, Clearwater-style!

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