By Rick Palsgrove
Groveport’s Front Street became “Fright Street” on Halloween as costumed trick-or-treaters happily flocked to the street for treats and the city’s annual block party.
While Halloween attracts many trick-or-treaters to all parts of Groveport, Front Street seems to have become the holiday’s focal point in town.
Many of the homes on Front Street were lavishly and creatively decorated in the spirit of Halloween. One home had a scary game of “Jeopardy” being played by movie monsters like “Jason.” Another featured a disco with dancing skeletons. Many of the homes turned their front yards into frightening graveyards inhabited by witches, ghouls, and skeletons. One residence mixed holidays as skeletons wearing Santa hats chilled out around an orange-lighted Christmas tree. One house went for a high tech, 21st century style of entertaining by showing Halloween themed movies on a big screen hung from their porch. They even set up chairs in the front yard for viewers to take a break from their candy gathering to watch the films. At another house a mad scientist lurked in her scary front yard laboratory to hand out to treats.
“I think this is great,” said the mad scientist, Jo Ellen Stebelton, regarding the costumed revelers filling the street. “I have a ball every year.”
Kids and some adults donned imaginative costumes of all kinds. A variety of witches dominated the scene as there seemed to be more witches than any other kind of costume. The remarkable thing was that each witch costume was unique, creative, and spellbinding – no two looked alike. Must be magic!
There were ghosts, superheroes, ghouls, ladybugs, cats, Thing 1 and Thing 2, a rhino, the Mad Hatter, pirates, Wolfman, vampires, space creatures, assorted monsters, a woman dressed as a pretzel, and even a Santa Claus! The only politician costume I saw was Abraham Lincoln, and this Lincoln had some real dance moves.
Speaking of dancing, the Groveport Madison High School Cruiserettes performed a Halloween themed dance routine that wowed the crowd during the block party. Also, members of the Groveport Madison High School Marching Band joined the fun by performing in costume.
Officials from the city of Groveport, Madison Township, and the Groveport Lions Club handed out free hot dogs, popcorn, donuts and cider to keep the crowd fueled in its wandering search for candy.
I overheard a father say to his young son, “There’s a lot of people here.” To which the son happily replied, “And they all want candy!”
One Front Street resident said she gave out 2,000 pieces of candy.
“There’s never anything left over,” she said with a smile.
While walking down Front Street I came upon Jerry Sedwick who grinned at me and said, “This is a lot
different from when we were kids!”
Yes, it was different. Fifty years ago the town was much smaller and the house decorations not as ornate. In those days Jack O’ Lanterns, lit with candles, were the most common decoration on front porches. But trick-or-treaters still scrambled about the darkened streets back then for treats just as they do today.
A common denominator between those days of long ago and the Halloween that has just passed is that people participating in the fun were so happy. Today they embrace the traditions and make new ones of their own. It’s all linear and connected.
Holidays of all kinds do that for us. These special days strengthen the bonds of community and give us a sense of place.
And, the thing about holidays is, there’s always more to come. Bring on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s!
I love Halloween in Groveport! Thank you to all of the residents who do an outstanding job of making this night fun for kids and adults.