Local communities think family-friendly for Halloween

By: Victoria Mitchell | Royal Oak Review | Published October 21, 2015

 Logan Porter, 1, dresses up as a tiger for Halloween in downtown Clawson last year.

Logan Porter, 1, dresses up as a tiger for Halloween in downtown Clawson last year.

File photo by Donna Agusti


CLAWSON/ROYAL OAK — When Joan Horton learned of a local family with twins trying to find a Halloween activity that would accommodate one child’s allergies, her aha moment arrived.

“I thought, ‘They shouldn’t have to split them up,’” she said. “How do you say to one, ‘This is fun and you can have all of this,’ and then say to the other child, ‘But you can’t.’”

The Clawson Downtown Development Authority executive director jumped into action and created the city’s Trick or Treasure event.

Horton went to a couple of allergy-friendly Halloween events for research, but found they were all indoors and kind of dull.

“It did not have the same feel as going out with the other kids and having fun,” she said.

Four years later, Clawson Trick or Treasure is gaining popularity and will take place again this year from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 24, throughout the downtown at local businesses.

“It’s allergy friendly, which really just means there is a whole lot of sugar,” Horton said. “Sugar is allergy friendly. And then there are a lot of trinkets and toys given out too.”

Businesses will pass out candy that is free of top childhood allergens or different treasures along the sidewalk, and the Clawson Lions Club and Police and Fire departments will put on activities. The Department of Public Works will bring large trucks for the kids to see, and EMS drivers will offer candy from a stretcher.

Horton said it’s hard to predict how many kids will attend, considering the event is outside, but organizers are ready.

“This has been great for us, and it brings people in from other areas, and it has been quite nice for the community too,” Horton said. “We have a lot of cute little ones running around.”

Other community events in Clawson and neighboring Royal Oak also offer Halloween fun, so grab your ghouls and head out to these costume-required haunted happenings:


The 32nd annual Spooktacular will take place in downtown Royal Oak from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 25.

More than 60 downtown businesses will offer candy, treats, games and other specials to thousands of costumed trick-or-treaters.

“It is an event that the entire community really gets behind,” said Stephanie McIntyre, event and marketing manager for the Royal Oak Downtown Development Authority, which puts on the event. “(The businesses) love the families and the kids, and their employees love dressing up.”

McIntyre said the businesses invest their own money to buy enough candy for a possible 5,000 kids depending on the weather.

“This is just a really fun family activity that they invest in to give back because they love the community,” she said.

In addition to the businesses passing out candy, other establishments will be offering spirited specials, including 99-cent soft-serve kid cones at Baskin Robbins; a haunted patio with spooky music, decorations and scary characters at Bastone; signature s’more pie dessert samples at Blaze Pizza; face painting, spooky manicures and temporary tattoos at Douglas J; face painting from 1 to 4 p.m. and spooky storytelling before and after the event at Gayle’s Chocolates; face painting at Onyx/Woody’s and Sweet Earth; a free 5-ounce sample of house brews to an accompanying adult at least 21 years old at the Royal Oak Brewery; games on the front lawn at Royal Oak First United Methodist Church; prizes at the duck pond at Stagecrafters; and Play-Doh at Town Tavern.

Last week, “The Daily Meal”  named Royal Oak one of America’s 25 Best Towns for Trick-or-Treating. The city came in second place for its holiday spirit.

Decision criteria included towns that are safe, family friendly, walkable and offer many Halloween activities.

For more information about the Spooktacular, visit downtown royaloak.org.

The Great Pubkin Crawl

Who said Halloween is just for kids? Not those serving ale in downtown Clawson.

The Great Pubkin Crawl will take place Saturday, Oct. 24. Registration costs $15 and attendees are invited to put on their costumes or costume element and enjoy a scavenger hunt along with food and drink specials from Mojave Cantina, Moose Winooski’s, Black Lotus Brewing Company, Old Detroit Burger Bar and Renshaw Lounge.

The evening will conclude with free pizza and prize drawings.

Event check-in and on-site registration will take place from 6 to 7 p.m. at Leon & Lulu, 96 W. 14 Mile Road.

For more information, call the Downtown Development Authority at (248) 435-5299 or email ddadirector@cityofclawson.com.

Youth Assistance Trick-or-Treat Trail

The annual Clawson Youth Assistance Trick-or-Treat Trail will take place from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 25, at City Park.

Kids and adults are invited to bring a flashlight and a treat bag and get ready to head through haunted trails and play ghostly games to collect candy donated by local businesses and organizations.

“The event is popular because it is free, fun and family friendly,” said Clawson Mayor Penny Luebs. “Businesses and groups donate their time and money to provide candy.”

All attendees are invited to stay at the end of the trail to enjoy cider and doughnuts courtesy of the Clawson Parks and Recreation Department.

Luebs said that the adults are invited to come in costume too.

“Sometimes we adults need to be childlike and regain our innocence, and that is what dressing in costume allows us to do one day of the year,” she said.

Funtastic Halloween

The Royal Oak Public Library will present Funtastic Halloween from noon to 2 p.m. Oct. 24. The event will feature merry-not-scary Halloween games, crafts and activities. Children may drop in anytime during the event.

From 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 29, those ages 11-18 can attend Special Effects Makeup, presented by Astute Artistry Studio. Attendees are invited to learn the tricks of the trade with special effects makeup. Attendees do not have to wear a costume to this event.

Both programs will take place in the youth activity room at the library, 222 E. 11 Mile Road. For more information, visit ropl.org/events.

Zoo Boo

Once again, little ghosts and goblins are invited to the Detroit Zoo for the annual Zoo Boo. Attendees will walk the half-mile trick-or-treat trail through the front of the zoo for a happily haunting good time. Along with treat stations positioned along the trail, visitors will enjoy decorative pumpkin and light displays, the Zoo Boo Review, the haunted reptile house, extreme pumpkin carving demonstrations, a hay maze and a creepy craft tent. Additional paid attractions will include carousel rides and “The Wizard of Oz” at the 4-D Theater.

Zoo Boo will take place 5-8 p.m. Oct. 23-25 — rain or shine. Tickets cost $8 for those ages 2 and older. Advance-sale time slots for Zoo Boo are 5 p.m., 5:30 p.m., 6 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Tickets for the 7 and 7.30 p.m. time slots will be sold only at the gate, which closes for entry at 8 p.m. If a date and time slot is not sold out, a limited number of tickets may be available at the gate that day for $12. Walk-up tickets will be sold only between 6:45 and 7:45 p.m.

For more information, visit detroitzoo.org.