The calendar said Monday was Columbus Day, but youngsters at a workshop sponsored by the Westport Historical Society clearly were focused on the Monday three weeks away.

The program, however, clearly got them in the spirit of the season of ghosts and gremlins and all things gruesome.

Fluttering ghosts, cobwebs, gravestones and skeletons all helped to set the tone.

"This is the first year WHS has done a Halloween craft day," said program leader Elizabeth DeVoll. "And it's because I love Halloween. I had been doing this kind of thing out of my home for a long time. It's a great alternative to the typical Halloween associations of store-bought costumes and candy."

The day's activities included cutting out and piecing together hinged paper skeletons and owls, haunted house dioramas, interactive themed drama led by Jen Devine, ghosts made from Styrofoam peanuts and Q-tips, a spooky treasure hunt, trick-or-treat bag making, fun with a black cat piñata and pipecleaner spiders.

Setting the mood in the activity rooms was Halloween decor strategically placed all about: "Enter if you dare" caution tape, knitted pumpkin and black cat figures, strings of blinking eyes, chalk drawings of jack o'lanterns and even a white rubber mouse.

About two dozen children participated, taking turns standing around three long tables covered with yellow paper. Scraps of paper, pipecleaners, glue and cobweb materials flew everywhere as the kids busily worked at their crafts.

"I went to one of these workshops before, during Easter, and it was really fun," said Olivia Valante, 8, of Westport, "so I knew I would have a good time today. I'm going to use what I make to decorate my house and given some other things to my family."

You could say everyone had a spooktacular time, with more treats than tricks enjoyed by all.