October 23, 2013 - By Susan Bromley
Ortonville- Every Halloween, hundreds of trick-or-treaters descend on the village seeking candy.
This year, the holiday will be extra special, with events, thrills, and amenties added for not only young goblins, but also for teens and parents.
"This will be the greatest Halloween in the Village ever, until next year when we are even bigger and better," said Allison Brauer, Downtown Development Authority volunteer. "We are trying to pull in all age groups."
Brauer, as well as DDA Executive Director Molly LaLone and DDA Volunteer Randy Adam, are expanding Halloween in the Village by stretching the event over a few hours. In the past, Halloween in the Village has included one hour of trick-or-treating—from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., Oct. 31, followed by a bonfire with free cider and doughnuts at the Ted Baker DPW complex at the corner of Cedar and Ball streets. While that tradition continues, more fun has been added before and after the trick-or-treating.
Revelers can kick off the evening as early as 5 p.m., by coming downtown for dinner and special treats from vendors. Offerings will include chili from Bullfrogs, L&M Kettlecorn, Dogs on the Run (hot dogs), cinnamon almonds, and cider and doughnuts from Porter's Orchard. Simply Good Food will have hot chocolate and a hot dinner, possibly walking tacos. Homemade loaded potato chips will also be available.
If you prefer to stick with the family favorite of pizza, Papa Bella's is open in the village.
At 6 p.m., Miss Fran from the Brandon Township Library will tell child-friendly Halloween stories at the Mann Schoolhouse located behind the Old Mill.
Also at 6 p.m., a photo booth sponsored by Jim Lane Car Company opens—get pictures in costume for only $1, with up to 10 people fitting in the photo booth situated at the village offices, 476 Mill St. Fun seekers aged 13 and up can also sign up for the Zombie Survival Kit Scavenger Hunt at the village offices any time after 5 p.m. For just $1, purchase a clue list, and begin hunting for items that will help you survive the zombie apocalypse.
"We have everything one might need to survive a zombie attack," said Brauer. "There are nine clues and you have until 8 p.m. to gather everything."
All clues pertain to the downtown area, and participants will receive a sticker and item for each successfully solved clue. Zombie survivalists must turn in their finished clue booklets at 8 p.m. at the village office to be entered in the grand prize drawing for a basket of survival items with a value of at least $30.
While the scavenger hunt and trick-or-treating is taking place, there will also be a zombie walk. So far, the DDA has 19 volunteer, family-friendly zombies who each get free pizza.
Throughout the event, glow-in-the-dark goblets and ghost story T-shirts, as well as other small concessions, will be available for purchase at the village offices.
At 8:30 p.m., get ready for more chills with a Ghost Story open mic competition hosted by Wolfman Mac, former host of Chiller Drive-In.
Wolfman Mac hosted a midnight show on Channel 20 in the Detroit viewership area for many years, featuring B horror movies with "campy skits" in between, notes Randy Adam, a friend of Wolfman Mac.
Adam explains that anyone 16-years-old or older can apply to tell a ghost story, which can be fiction, a real-life experience, or an urban legend. Stories must be told in five minutes or less, with no profanity, smoking, alcohol or drugs. Stories should not be out of a book or something seen on tv, but interesting, curious and spooky. The winner will receive a cash prize from the $5 entry fees collected from storytellers and the $2 admission fees for the audience.
There will also be a paranormal presentation with photographs after the ghost stories are told. Adam is the founder of Michigan Research and Investigations of the Paranormal.
"There is curiosity of what is out there, what is this all about and where does your spirit go," noted Adam. "I've had some paranormal experiences, but always had interest in the unknown—UFOs, Big Foot. The paranormal photographs are unusual, things I took in the Michigan area. I'm not saying what it is or isn't, it's just to make people think. There are a few photos that are really the wow factor."
Brauer, who viewed a photograph Adam took in a pioneer cemetery which should have shown gravestones, but which in actuality showed something else, has been sufficiently frightened.
"It was creepy," she said. "I never used to be afraid of cemeteries, but now I'm not so sure."
All proceeds from Halloween in the Village will benefit another fun event in the village—Creekfest, planned for next June. For more information on Halloween in the Village, call Molly LaLone at 248-627-8070.
Susan covers Brandon Township and Ortonville