COURTESY LAHAINA TOWN
Halloween in Lahaina inspires some interesting costumes and themes, like this "Age of Aquariums" getup, which won first place in last year's Maui Tacos Great Halloween Costume Contest, one of several planned in Lahaina on Oct. 31.
Maui gets set to dress up
Lahaina’s Halloween, drawing costume entries from far afield, is a Pacific Mardi Gras
LAHAINA » On one Halloween they came with friends as "Mount Rushmore," and just last year they dressed as fish and underwater decor as the "Age of Aquariums."
In the last 10 years, Maui retirees Bunt and Ann Burkhalter have rarely missed participating in Halloween in Lahaina, known as the "Mardi Gras of the Pacific."
"I think it's great fun," Ann Burkhalter said.
Merchants, through the LahainaTown Action Committee, have helped to organize events around the annual gathering, which attracts an estimated 20,000 people.
A mile-long stretch of Front Street becomes a pedestrian walkway for festivities as police close the shoreline road to vehicular traffic from 3 p.m. to midnight on Oct. 31.
In addition to entertainment in restaurants, the committee plans to provide a band playing samba music from 5 to 7 p.m. at Banyan Tree Park, followed by its 16th annual Maui Tacos Great Halloween Costume Contest.
The entry fee is $20, and there were more than 100 entrants last year.
Winners receive $1,000 for first prize; 10 dinners for two, including meals at the Old Lahaina Luau and Kobe Japanese Steak House, for second place; and a weekend getaway in Lahaina for third place.
The park will have booths with food, face painters and palm readers.
There is also an annual children's parade starting at 4:30 p.m. at the Lahaina Center, and a children's karaoke costume contest across from the Banyan Tree Park at the Wharf Cinema Center at 6 p.m., followed by an adult karaoke costume contest at 7 p.m.
Some people have come from as far as the East Coast and Japan to enter the costume contests, reserving airline seats for their costumes.
An Ewa Beach father and daughter who dressed as hula lamps took second place in 2004.
"We really draw people from all over," said committee event coordinator Jennifer Dory.
The Burkhalters have put together costumes that include an ensemble of friends for their "Age of Aquariums" and "Mount Rushmore."
The latter costume required 11 people: four dressed as presidents, two as park security, four as tourists and one as a heralding trumpeter.
Ann Burkhalter said she and her husband were "costume cops" at one Halloween, handing out citations to those on the streets who were decently exposed and dispensing 750 Groucho Marx noses and glasses to violators.
Dory said she is always amazed at the costumes.
"People really get into their costumes. We get a lot of creativity," she said.