Communities offer ‘spooktacular’ Halloween alternatives

By: Victoria Mitchell | Royal Oak Review | Published October 22, 2014

 A little princess runs through the hay maze during the 2013 annual Zoo Boo event. The Detroit Zoo Halloween happening takes place again this weekend.

A little princess runs through the hay maze during the 2013 annual Zoo Boo event. The Detroit Zoo Halloween happening takes place again this weekend.

File photo by Sean Work


ROYAL OAK/CLAWSON — It is time to gather up your ghosts and goblins and head downtown for a haunting Halloween. The communities of Clawson and Royal Oak are hosting a myriad of activities open to youth looking for an alternative to traditional door-to-door tricks and treats.

The Clawson Downtown Development Authority will offer Trick or Treasure 2014 for families looking for an allergy-friendly way to celebrate the October holiday.

“I don’t know of any other community that does this,” said Joan Horton, Executive Director of the Clawson Downtown Development Authority.

Horton said this is the third year the city has made the event allergy-friendly so all children can enjoy the same fun activity. She said that when the Authority started looking into the change, it realized that there are a lot of candy treats free from top childhood allergens.

“There is not a lot of chocolate, but there is a lot of candy,” she said. “It’s a lot of fun.”

Downtown Clawson businesses also will be passing out small treasures.

Royal Oak is offering some alternatives in addition to candy and treats during its holiday event, as select businesses will offer face painting, pumpkin decorating, games, spooky manicures and crafts.

Stephanie McIntyre, event and marketing manager for the Royal Oak Downtown Development Authority, said the 31st annual Downtown Royal Oak Spooktacular is popular with business owners and families.

“A lot of businesses say it is their favorite day of the year,” McIntyre said. “It just keeps getting more and more popular each year.”

Activities like spooky manicures at Douglas J, face painting at Sweet Earth and an art contest at The Gallery of Royal Oak give families something additional to do instead of just collecting candy.

Both community organizers feel community events provide safe trick-or-treating.

Downtown Royal Oak Spooktacular

More than 50 downtown businesses will offer candy, treats, games and other special events to trick-or-treaters from 2-4 p.m. Oct. 26. Children should bring a trick-or-treat container, dress in their favorite costume and prepare to be greeted in front of the participating businesses with special surprises. 

In addition to lots of candy and treats, select businesses will be offering holiday specials. A haunted patio with spooky music, decorations and scary characters at Bastone; s’more pie dessert samples and coupons at Blaze Pizza; face painting, spooky manicures and service vouchers from noon-4 p.m at Douglas J.; coupons at Kids Planet; pumpkin decorating from noon-2 p.m at Mr. B’s; face painting at Onyx/Woody’s; a free 5-ounce sample of house brews to adults 21 and older at Royal Oak Brewery; games on the front lawn of Royal Oak First United Methodist Church; prizes at the duck pond at Stagecrafters; face painting and yogurt discounts at Sweet Earth; and a new art contest at The Gallery of Royal Oak. All events are complimentary, and parking also is free downtown on Sunday. 

2014 Downtown Clawson Trick or Treasure

The City of Clawson Downtown Development Authority invites children to put on their best costumes and head to 14 Mile Road and Main Street from noon-3 p.m. Oct. 25 for the city’s 2014 Trick or Treasure. Attendees will visit downtown businesses and receive allergy-friendly treats and treasures while having a safe trick-or-treating experience. About 50 businesses will participate in the event and be marked with streamers so the kids can find their way. The Fire Department will be out with its truck, city police officers will greet the kids, and other city officials will be out throughout the town.

Adults may return to downtown Clawson the same evening for the Pumpkin Crawl.  Those 21 and older can register online at the DDA website,, or register from 6-7 p.m. the day of the event at Leon & Lulu. Crawlers will stop at the city’s favorite watering holes, enjoy contests at each stop, and enjoy free pizza.

“We will have a lot of people in costume on the 25th,” Horton said.

Trick-or-Treat Trail

Clawson Youth Assistance invites daring participants to travel along its Trick-or-Treat Trail from 6-7:30 Oct. 26. Costumed children are invited to the city park wood-chipped trail at 1080 N. Custer to gather treats from a total of about 35 local businesses and civic organizations.

“We’re excited,” said Clawson Mayor Penny Luebs. “We’ve had a trail since 2008.”

Cider and doughnuts will be provided by the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, and fire jugglers will be at the event this year to thrill the crowd.

“They are quite exciting to see, especially at dusk,” Luebs said.

Also, don’t forget to drop off a pumpkin between 5-5:30 p.m. for judging in the jack-o’-lantern carving contest. 

Teen Halloween Costume Party

The Royal Oak Public Library is hosting a Halloween costume party for teens at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 30 at 222 E. 11 Mile Road. Teens are invited to attend in their costumes for candy, games and Halloween activities. Call (248) 246-3725 to register.

Halloween Celebration

The Blair Memorial Library, located at 416 N. Main St., is hosting a Halloween celebration from 10:30-11:30 a.m. Oct. 25. Children are invited to wear their costumes for a morning of spooky stories, crafts and refreshments. Call (248) 588-5500.

Cowboy Alex Happy Halloween

Children 3-8 are invited to the Mahany/Meininger Senior Center, located at 3500 Marais Ave., at 11 a.m. Oct. 25 for a 45-minute gathering of stories, puppets, crafts and magic. The event costs $5, and registration is required by calling (248) 246-3180.

Zoo Boo

Children of all ages are invited to the 2014 Zoo Boo Oct. 24-26 at the Detroit Zoo, located at the corner of 10 Mile Road and Woodward Avenue. The annual “merry-not-scary” event features a half-mile decorated trick-or-treat trail at the front of the zoo, pumpkin art throughout the trail, a trip through the haunted reptile house and two entertainment stages. For an additional cost, families will have the opportunity to enter the Wild Adventure 4-D Theatre or seek some thrills on the simulator ride.

Zoo Boo is held rain or shine from 6-8 p.m. on Friday or 5-8 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Advanced tickets, which are recommended, may be purchased at the zoo or online at Advanced tickets are $8 per person for ages 2 and older. Children younger than 2 will be admitted free. Tickets cost $12 at the gate. Parking for all cars is $6.