By Linda Dillman
Skeletons are creeping their way across Canal Winchester, but there is no need for alarm.
Destination: Canal Winchester is inviting bone-rattling ghouls of every shape and size to take part in a skeleton decorating contest where the community judges the contestants.
The event was inspired by a Facebook request and a similar contest held by the organization for the past two years ago.
“In the midst of all the COVID shutdowns in 2020, Destination: Canal Winchester wanted to give people something fun to do and at the same time possibly help the local restaurants who had been greatly affected by the shutdowns,” said Director Karen Stiles. “We knew that Fairfield County had held their Tour of Scarecrows for a couple of years, but much of Canal Winchester is in Franklin County, so Destination: Canal Winchester so we held a Tour of Scarecrows for Canal Winchester.”
Prizes were awarded in four categories and each scarecrow winner received an assortment of gift cards that could be used at local restaurants. The same type of prizes will be awarded for the 2022 skeleton competition.
“Though the restaurants were closed for dine-in, they were open for pick-up, so our hope was this would encourage the winners to order take-out from those restaurants,” said Stiles, who said the tour was conducted the following year as well. “This year, a post on social media where members were asking for a skeleton competition, was brought to our attention, so we decided to go in that direction for 2022.”
Contestants — residents, individuals, groups, organizations and businesses in the 43110 zip code—are free to construct their own skeleton or use pre-made ones, dressed up and staged in a creative way. Judging categories include: Largest, Funniest, Most Creative and Best Cemetery or Ensemble Scene. Voting is done online through the Destination: Canal Winchester website.
Participants must send a picture of their skeleton, including the skeleton’s name and location to firstname.lastname@example.org. The location of each entry will be labeled on a map posted on the organization’s website so people know where to go to view the skeleton.
Only those who submit their information to Destination: Canal Winchester will be entered in the contest. Voting ends on Oct. 24 and the winner will be announced on Halloween.
Those voting for a skeleton display may go to https://www.destinationcw.org/fallFestival and enter the display’s name.
Contest rules include a minimum height of three feet and a display consisting of a single skeleton or a gathering of skeletons.
“You can use any materials you like to build your skeleton, there are no restrictions,” said Stiles. “All skeletons (and display names) must be made and displayed in good taste. Any entrant designing their skeletons to cause deliberate offense will be disqualified. All skeletons must be displayed so it is unnecessary for anyone to access your property or business to view them. They must also be secured in a manner that they will not blow away and not be a danger or possibly cause injury to anyone. Owners are held solely responsible for the safety and security of their display.”
When voting for an entry, Stiles asks the community to look for skeleton displays with a little bit extra in the use of materials, the way the skeleton(s) and/or other appropriate themed characters are displayed or is an idea that really catches the eye.
“Pictures will be posted on our Facebook page for those who don’t have time to drive around and look at the skeletons,” said Stiles. “At the online voting site, the categories will be listed and people will vote by entering the skeleton’s name in the appropriate category. We will again be giving away packets of gift cards. Neighbors, co-workers and organizations can come together and create an entry. As individuals create entries, neighbors enjoy the displays. Additionally, the prizes encourage participants to visit our Canal Winchester businesses to use the gift cards.”