Halloween spirit is alive and well

Gary Gould — Managing Editor

Gary Gould — Managing Editor

Halloween is probably my favorite time of the year. I have always loved Halloween — from dressing up in costumes and trick or treating as a kid, to haunted attractions and carving pumpkins when I got older.

I always have to watch a good scary movie on Halloween and the best years are when I get to take my kids trick or treating. Some of my fondest Halloween memories were of taking them to Crossroads Village for their Halloween days and watching them run from building to building in costume to collect treats, before boarding the Huckleberry Railroad and taking a haunted train ride.

My love of this “holiday” was seriously rekindled this weekend after a trip to Tillson Street in Romeo. My girlfriend Anita told me about the place, describing it as a street in the town of Romeo where nearly all the residents decorate their yards and homes for Halloween.

I wasn’t sure what to expect, being a die hard Halloween fan, but I will have to admit I was blown away by Tillson Street.

Located just south of 32 Mile Road and west off of Main Street (old VanDyke) in downtown Romeo, Tillson Street is a block of old homes — some dating back to the 1850s — all decorated to the hilt with the scariest and most fun scenes a Halloween freak could ever ask for.

Residents of Tillson Street begin decorating in mid-October, with Halloween as the completion date. Oct. 30 is always the dress rehearsal with Halloween as the grand finale. If the night we went last week — more than a week prior to Halloween — is any indication of what the chaos on Tillson Street will be for the “grand finale” I’d have to say I’m glad I went to see it now. Cars were lined up on all the adjoining streets and a horde of people spent the evening walking up and down the block taking in the Halloween sights.

The displays are amazing. Some of the displays have working parts, others are just simple but effective in projecting fear. There are fog machines, spooky soundtracks and light tricks to further enhance the experience.

One resident created a pirate ship in his or her front yard, complete with sword-fighting skeletons and a treasure of gold trinkets. Another yard was the home of a group of terrifying clowns and another had been turned into a graveyard

— complete with a moving pile of leaves over one of the graves.

The residents of Tillson Street do all of this with their own money, other than candy donations from the general public and the Cub Scouts. The residents hand out somewhere in the neighborhood of 75,000 pieces of candy and in all, over the Halloween season, will see about 20,000 visitors.

Their website — www.terrorontillson.com — boasts of seeing visitors from as far away as Mississippi to visit. The event is so successful the homeowners now sell t-shirts to support a scholarship fund and they hold a Kids Kicking Cancer event on Tillson Street to provide about 50 children with cancer the opportunity to trick or treat in a safe, day time event.

This is an awesome community effort and some of the best Halloween spirit I’ve ever seen. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves Halloween, no matter what age you may be.

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