I want to be a fairy princess ... Costumes and pumpkins make the Market Halloween headquarters

This October look for pumpkins from Frog's Song Farm, of Fir Island, and costumes from Just Horsin' Around, of Vashon Island, along the day stalls outside on Pike Place and inside the North Arcade.

The 98-year-old Pike Place Market tradition of "meet the producer," selling direct to customers along Pike Place, continues as 287 farmers and craftspeople bring their finest, including the organic pumpkins and more of Nate O'Neil and Shannon Dignum's Frog's Song Farm, Fir Island, and the children's costumes and adult wizard robes of Laura Daughenbaugh and Tom Graham, Just Horsin' Around, Vashon Island.

Organic Wednesdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., will continue through month-end to showcase local, certified organic fruits and vegetables, including many heirloom varieties, proudly grown by farmers such as Nate O'Neil and Shannon Dignum on their 12-acre Frog's Song Farm near Mount Vernon.

"We're selling several pumpkin varieties including the giant-sized Jack-O'-Lantern which is great for carving," said Shannon Dignum. "We also offer sugar pie pumpkins and the blazing, vivid red Rouge VIF D'Etampes, also known as the Cinderella pumpkin, for cooking."

But it's not just pumpkins.

"We'll also be selling about seven varieties of squash, eight kinds of root vegetables, plus spinach and salad greens, kale and chard and Asian pears," Dignum said.

"The Jarrahdale squash, with an amazing contrast of bright, thick orange flesh and a glossy blue-grey exterior, has long storage," she said. "Other colorful squash include Kobocha with a dark, forest green exterior and orange flesh, the multi-color Carnival squash and Sweet Dumpling's yellow flesh and multi-green exterior."

Through October, customers can plan on Delicata, a long cylindrical-shaped squash with yellow flesh and perennial favorite Spaghetti squash.

"Patty Pan availability depends on the weather," said Dignum. "Once the freeze hits, and we never know when that's going to be, this small, yellow-colored summer squash's gone for the season."

Count on the following root vegetables from Frog's Song Farm.

"We've four beet varieties including one with a red and white bulls-eye pattern inside, three carrot varieties including yellow-colored heirloom Stone, four potato varieties and two onion varieties," she said. "We'll also have two varieties each of cabbage, chard, kohlrabi and shallots, plus spinach and our salad greens mix which contains pansies," Dignum said.

And don't forget Asian pears.

"We offer three varieties, including the big one that often weighs over a pound a pear."

Why organic?

"There was no question about it when things started 10 years ago," she said. "Nate's mom started him off organic by always doing her landscaping organic."

Special orders are accepted by telephone: 360 445-3054.

Play and stay young

Celebrate October, the official month to "play dress up," with quality children's costumes and adult capes and wizard robes from Laura Daughenbaugh and Tom Graham of Just Horsin' Around, Vashon Island, who know people get old because they stop playing.

"You don't stop playing because you get old," said Daughenbaugh. "You get old because you stop playing."

To thwart aging and assist playing, Daughenbaugh and Graham, business partners and spouses, offer thoughtfully designed and carefully created costumes for children, toddlers through age eight, a herd of unique stick horses, jester hats and adult-sized capes and wizard robes.

"We specialize in high-quality, handcrafted costumes for toddlers through second and third graders, approximately ages seven and eight," said Daughenbaugh. "We make all our costumes with quality in mind, so they don't wear out next month but can be worn for several years."

With a background in theatre stagecraft, she finds customers start thinking about costumes in October and predicts the movies popular this summer will translate into this year's popular costumes. "Wizards probably will be popular because of the Harry Potter movie and princesses are always popular," she said.

Endorsed and tested by five-year-old daughter Tobin, "kids can wear our dresses and skirts for dress up or as school clothes," said Daughenbaugh. "These are colorful clothes."

Fabrics used range from velvet to cotton to netting in bright colors. "Patterns on fabrics are anything glittery and shiny including holographic patterns like dots and whole rainbow images," she said. "We use good quality fabrics, everything's lined and folded in so there are no rough edges and meant for years of wear."

To complement fashionable wizards and fairy princesses, accessories such as magic wands and ribbon spinners, princess hats and crowns are available. "Our crowns are made of colorful felt adorned with genuine imitation precious gemstones, such as imitation rubies and imitation sapphires," said Graham. "The crowns are adjustable so children can wear them as they grow."

Hand-shaped unicorn horns and devil horns are made of oven-fired, nontoxic Sculpty polymer "to last through years of role playing," said Daughenbaugh.

Adults are not left out.

"Our four-pointed jester hats with hidden elastic for a comfortable fit are offered in cotton velvet with one bell secured to each point or for skiers in polar fleece without bells," she said. "Our polar fleece jester hats are very popular with skiers.

"And, this month, our double-sided, long-sleeved adult wizard robes are on sale," said Daughenbaugh. "Designed to fit most adults, each robe requires six to seven yards of fabric for completion."

For children of all ages, one-of-a-kind stick horses and ponies share day stall space with the costumes.

"Our stick horses are very popular at Christmas," she said. "These are totally my own design from beginning to end and I guarantee the workmanship of these machine washable, lined and double stitched horses and ponies."

Proudly flashing a colorful mane, each cotton stick horse or felt stick pony comes complete with an equally colorful bridle and reins "and a pair of lock-wash eyes that won't come out in the wash," said Daughenbaugh. "Just pull the head off the stick, put the head into a pillowcase and machine wash."

Market family members for 19 years, Daughenbaugh and Graham met "through his mother Christine Vaughan, another Market craftsperson who started the same year I did," she said.

Price points for children's items range from $4 to $32, jester hats from $20 to $38, "and, until they're gone, adult capes are $48 and adult wizard robes are $89," she said. "Our stick horses and smaller stick ponies range from $20 to $32."

From January through May, she accepts custom orders. "People like to dress up for Mardi Gras and New Year's celebrations or for festivals like neighborhood parades," she said.

For more information, telephone 206 463-5641 or e-mail Tobineze@yahoo.com

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