Mercer Island is welcoming back a growing Halloween tradition.
Founded by three families in 2016, Mercer Island held its first pumpkin walk. The Mercer Island Pumpkin Walk took donated jack-o-lanterns and created a lighted pumpkin-lined path at Pioneer Park. This year, the event will be 5 p.m.-8 p.m. on Oct. 27 at Luther Burbank Park.
Amanda Colburn remembered attending family-friendly lighted pumpkin walks growing up.
“It was such a cool experience. People and kids loved it,” she said. Since moving to the Island six years ago, she said she thought about creating a similar event for the community.
“I thought, ‘We should do one,’” she said. “I wanted the community to share in the same kind of fun that I had.”
Joining with three other families, the first pumpkin walk attracted more than 1,000 people in 2016 at Pioneer Park.
“We had no idea so many people would come out,” Colburn said. “I thought maybe 30 or 40 people would come — not over a 1,000. It was so much fun.”
Due to its success in 2016, a second pumpkin walk was held in 2017. More than 2,000 people were in attendance.
“It was wonderful,” Colburn said. “It’s so rare to have a free community event—bringing the community together.”
The event’s exponential growth caught the eye of the city. Due to the city’s concern about safety and traffic, the city required event organizers to move the event to a different park, file for a permit, have off-duty police officers and bathrooms available to attendees. With a lack of time and resources, there wasn’t a pumpkin walk last year.
“It totally made sense why the city stepped in,” Colburn said. “Of course, we want people to be safe and have fun.”
During its hiatus, Colburn said this year’s pumpkin walk is going to be bigger and better.
“Local businesses are sponsoring the event and as a result this wonderful family-friendly community event will be bigger and better than before,” event promoter Ly-Lan McCarthy said. “Several food trucks will be onsite including: Buns on Wheels, Ezell’s, and Drifting Donuts. A big thank you to local business sponsors: MI Athletic Club, Homegrown, Fitness Together, Mercer Island Dentistry, Barre Rev, Island Books, John L. Scott Real Estate, MI Pediatrics, L’Experience and Compass.”
The event will be presented in partnership with the Mercer Island Youth and Family Services Foundation (MIYFSF).
Attendees are encouraged to bring a non-perishable food item to supply the MIYFSF food pantry. Colburn said she’s looking forward to bringing the pumpkin walk back, and hopes it becomes an Island tradition.
“We’re hoping the community will come and participate,” she said. “We are in need of people carving and donating pumpkins for it.”
To learn more about the event, visit the Mercer Island Pumpkin Walk Facebook page.