A sailor’s tales of lost treasure and ghost ships turned a quiet boat ride into a “Cruise of Doom” Sunday at Tempe Town Lake. At the third annual Haunted Halloween Tour sponsored by the Friends of Rio Salado, families rode on the “Clara Urbano” through the cursed Sun Devil’s Triangle and past a sorcerer’s tomb hidden in Tempe Butte.
“Mark my words,” said “Sailor Randy” as the boat embarked on the ride. “We’ll be lucky to survive this trip tonight.”
Children huddled close with their friends and parents as Tempe-themed scary stories came to life on the placid water.
“We were trying to think of something to do around the lake,” said Randy Smith, a Tempe man who led the adventure. “But since there wasn’t enough history, I thought I would make stuff up.”
“Sailor Randy’s” scary stories wove a clever mixture of Tempe landmarks together with traditional pirate folklore that both kids and adults could appreciate.
Among some of the tall tales told by Smith:
• Sun Devil Stadium’s flagpoles mark the former location of pirates’ gallows.
• A “great catfish” lies at the bottom of the lake.
• The “Flying Lost Dutchman” ship haunts the lake, dooming any boat it catches.
• Limbs and other body parts from a murdered woman try to latch on to boats and nab any sailors.
“It was kind of fun,” said 8-year-old Nikki BeDillon. “It was my first time being on a boat. I liked the scary stories.”
The children laughed during the ride and listened wideeyed to the tales.
A handful of imaginative adults also attended the cruise, hoping for a little adventure.
“You never know,” said a smiling woman at the back of the boat. “There could be some enormous thing come out of the lake. Who’d want to miss that?”
The Friends of Rio Salado collected donations for their nonprofit organization and handed out informational fliers to parents.