Photo gallery image (click to enlarge)

Crocker Highlands Neighborhood Halloween-O

Date: (Fri.) Oct. 31, 2008
Location: Oakland, CA
Event Director: - 510.681.6181
Course Setter: Rex Winterbottom
Type: Evening Score-O course amid Halloween decorations and trick-or-treat action

Course Setter's Notes


This event is always fabulous—hope to see you Friday! South Bay folks, carpool up!

Beautiful neighborhoods, impeccable landscaping, and haunting homes—brace yourselves for some of the best Hallowe'en decorations this side of the Mississippi. And enjoy the colorful spectacle of trick-or-treaters out huntin' for candy!

Starts and registration are open at Rolling Dunes restaurant at 3331 Lakeshore Ave. in Oakland from 5:30 to 8:00 PM, and courses close at 9:30. Entry cost is the same as for White and Yellow courses: $6 for adults, $3 for juniors. We will hold court in the front with a number of tables put together, and I encourage you to visit and socialize with us after you finish your course. Rolling Dunes has graciously allowed us to use their facility as an event center, and I'm sure they would appreciate you purchasing some of their wonderful pasta, crepes, or sandwich meals, desserts, and drinks.


Houses, houses, houses, the occasional school or little park, and lots of pavement! Staircases. Curvy streets. Interesting route choices.


Bob Cooley is making us maps at a 1:10000 scale blowup of a portion of the rather large Indian Gulch map. The contour interval is 20 feet. You'll find lots of streets, some thick black lines indicating smaller, public paved roads, and a fair amount of dashed black lines indicating footpaths and staircases. Then there are residential areas, mainly, interspersed with the odd school or park, white forest, or open land. Most streets have sidewalks, but not all.

A note about Staircases—they are all there. They're not always easy to spot between houses!! So while taking them may save time, finding them may cost it. Some Staircases are in disrepair! Like, crumbling in spots. And not very well lit—necessitating a flashlight.


  Course    Distance       Climb         Controls
  Score-O   up to 7.5 km   up to 250 m   up to 20

Do as many controls as you want! Your course could be 2.5 km, 50 m climb, 8 controls.

Based on yesterday's (10/27) reconnaissance, it will be a great year for Hallowe'en action. The course format was going to be a Line-O, but after wandering on the map and identifying cool home sites, I was inspired to change the format to a Score-O.

For the Score-O, get as many controls as you want and rack up points—the further away, the more points you earn.

Since different people will take different amounts of controls, and I don't want multiple categories (except for gender; juniors, open, and seniors, and "groups",) you will receive a ratio score of "points earned" divided by "time out on course". Conceivably, you could sprint out to the nearest control and sprint back, and possibly top the standings that way. But the point values will dramatically increase the further you get out on the map, so I doubt that.

How will you punch? It's a multiple-choice question that I promise is easy to answer in low-light conditions. What are the control features? Houses with fabulous Hallowe'en decorations. Thus, you will see control circles on your map that are on the middle of a street, and slightly off to indicate which side of the street. It will be clear what house it is—pick the most decorated one—they stand out from the neighbors. Then answer the multiple-choice question on your clue sheet.


Check the weather forecast. T-shirt, shorts, and running shoes should be fine for running, perhaps more layers for walking, and bring layers for warming up and after you cool down.

A flashlight is great for some of those dark staircases!


Cars, of course. Since it's Hallowe'en and the trick-or-treaters are out, most sane drivers will be on the lookout for folks crossing the road. Just don't assume cars are seeing you, and look out for them!

Also you will "run into" (but hopefully not over) lots of young kids, some hard to see because they aren't very tall and tend to stumble around in random patterns.

And the staircases! Some are a bit ruined—careful where you step—a flashlight can help you!