Hazel Park library gets into Halloween spirit

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison - Park News | Published October 16, 2020

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HAZEL PARK — There’s something for everyone this Halloween season at the Hazel Park Memorial District Library. Among the highlights: a costumed parade for the kids outside City Hall, a party for teens at Scout-McPherson Park and a presentation by horror writers over Zoom.

For the kids
The library, located at 123 E. Nine Mile Road, will hold its annual Trick-Or-Treat Parade outside Hazel Park City Hall, located next door at 111 E. Nine Mile Road, at 11 a.m. Oct. 30.

Each year, employees at City Hall hand out candy to the preschool and homeschool students who participate in the parade, which usually takes place the last Thursday or Friday of October. Attendance usually numbers around 30 children, who of course are invited to wear their costumes.

“Employees there love to hand out candy to the kids — they look forward to it every year,” said Amy Beem, the youth librarian who organizes the event. “This well-loved event has been going on for many years. It allows children to be able to have a fun and safe trick-or-treating experience. It also gives the children a chance to socialize and play together, which enhances a child’s emotional, social and cognitive development.”

There will be some differences this year due to the pandemic, however. In a normal year there would be a party inside of the library following the parade, with snacks, music and pumpkin painting. This year there will be no party after the parade, and the parade itself will be held outside City Hall.

Tables will be set up 6 feet apart where the City Hall employees will hand out candy to the kids. The employees will be wearing masks and gloves, and there will be hand sanitizer too. At the end, each child will receive a bagged prize from a treasure chest, as well as a miniature pumpkin to take home and paint.

“Maintaining social distance during the program is appreciated,” Beem said.

Registration for the Hazel Park library’s trick-or-treat program is now open. To register, call the library at (248) 546-4095.

“This way, the library will know how many pumpkins to buy,” Beem said. “We are super excited to be able to continue our annual trick-or-treat program. Come dressed in your costumes, ready to have some fun!”

She also noted that the weekly story time for infants and toddlers will be held at 10:30 a.m., prior to the parade.

For the teens
Teens ages 12-19 are invited to the annual Halloween party the night of Oct. 30. The fun begins around 7 p.m. at the pavilion at Scout-McPherson Park, south of Nine Mile Road and east of John R Road between East Woodruff and East Otis avenues.

The library is teaming up with the Hazel Park Community Coalition for the event. The party goes until midnight and will include food, games and a live DJ. There will also be performances by the sword swallower Pipsy Pinwheel, and the contact juggler known as The Amazing Flec.

The event was held inside the library the previous two years. There are usually around 25 teens in attendance. This year will be the first time the event is held outside. Masks will be required, and social distancing will be observed.

“We throw the party every year to let our teens know how happy we are to have them in our library,” said Randy Ernst-Meyer, the library’s teen and adult librarian. “Halloween is a great season of the year, but teens don’t always have that much to do. Teens can feel excluded from the fun of trick-or-treating, and teens are either too old or too young for a lot of Halloween parties. There are always haunted houses, but we like to give our teens a little something more.

“This year has proven tricky,” he continued. “With the country in the throes of the COVID-19 plague, our party could not be thrown in the library. So we decided to bring it outdoors, with masks and social distancing. Hazel Park’s Parks and Recreation Department graciously held off winterizing the park until after the party, giving us access to the bathroom facilities, the pavilion and the small kitchen area. We are all very excited about this party.”

To RSVP, call the library at (248) 546-4095 or send an email to hpmlibrary@gmail.com.

For aspiring writers
Another Halloween tradition at the Hazel Park library has been hosting presentations by the Great Lakes Association of Horror Writers. This will be the third year they’ve presented there, only this time it will be held online via the free videoconferencing app Zoom, due to COVID-19.

The presentation is scheduled for 7 p.m. Oct. 28. To participate, visit the library’s website at hazel-park.lib.mi.us to access the Zoom link. Joining is as simple as downloading the Zoom app and then clicking on the link at the designated time. The password is “Terrortale.”   

The writers will discuss the art of writing spooky stories, reading excerpts from their books.

“This will be another fun, funny and terrifying trip into the unknown,” Ernst-Meyer said.

He said that the group consists of about a half-dozen writers. Horror and humor often go hand in hand, and the group likes to crack jokes and share funny stories.

“The business of writing has changed a lot since the ‘90s. Online publishing has given writers opportunities they never had before,” Ernst-Meyer said. “So this is a great talk for lovers of terror, burgeoning writers and folks looking for a very enjoyable hour.”