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Hastings woman creates pirate-themed ‘city’ for elaborate Halloween party

Kathy Carpenter scoops out some steaming water from a burning “cauldron” in the pirate-themed city she created.

Greg Chandler

Staff Writer

Kathy Carpenter loves Halloween.

The Hastings resident and business owner loves it so much each year she creates her own “city” – she calls it Port Royal – complete with a pirate ship, a bar (that sells root beer), a doctor's office, a store and even a place where one can have his or her fortune told.

Last weekend, Carpenter entertained 65 people, mostly kids, at a party at Ever After, the banquet hall she runs with her daughter, Nicole Linker.       

Carpenter creates her Halloween city out of pretty much whatever she can find.

“I can scavenge for anything,” she said.

For example, she built a cannon using PVC pipe from her husband's plumbing business, and the cannon balls came from a local dollar store. The pirate ship, which took at least four months to construct, was built from Styrofoam.

“She makes it look like wood,” her husband, Brad, said.

Carpenter said she got into creating her elaborate Halloween decorations when Nicole was a child.

“Her birthday is in October, and we had an old schoolhouse,” she said. “You walk in, look both ways, and it would turn into a maze. We used to scare her [friends]. It started with five or six girls.”

The parties grew from there, Linker said.

“Everyone wanted to come to the birthday parties, and she started inviting family,” she said. “She's been doing this for more than 20 years.”

Carpenter credits Shawn Olmstead, office manager at Carpenter Plumbing, for helping her get many of the decorations done.

“He's my partner in crime. I start a project, and he finishes it. Or he starts something, and I'll finish it,” she said.

Some of Carpenter's other party designs have included a “Wizard of Oz” theme.

“We have the house that's fallen and on one side, there's feet with the ruby-red slippers,” she said, adding that she also created houses for the Munchkins and a forest. Carpenter even took on the role of the Wicked Witch of the West.

Carpenter's entire family, which includes three children and eight grandchildren, gets into the Halloween spirit. One of her favorite photos on her phone has the entire family in their various costumes. She said watching kids have fun at parties gives her the enjoyment of creating these displays.


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