Pre-registration now open for Pumpkin Walk

Dancers needed, along with volunteers, treats, pumpkins

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison - Park News | Published October 11, 2021

 Kids walked the trail loop at last year’s event, collecting candy and playing games at each stop. After getting candy, trick-or-treaters got to make giant bubbles at one stop.

Kids walked the trail loop at last year’s event, collecting candy and playing games at each stop. After getting candy, trick-or-treaters got to make giant bubbles at one stop.

File photo by Patricia O’Blenes

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MADISON HEIGHTS — The Pumpkin Walk returns to Civic Center Park this year, in what has become a Halloween tradition for the city of Madison Heights. But those who want to join the fun will need to sign up soon, as pre-registration is required.

The event, now in its third year, takes place from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 29. The park is behind Madison Heights City Hall, north of 13 Mile Road and west of John R Road. Parking and entry is from the fire station parking lot, behind City Hall and the courthouse.

To register, email lbgeralds@yahoo.com.

During the event, attendees will follow a one-way trail, visiting 15 to 18 stations along the way, where they will find Halloween treats and activities. Highlights from last year returning this year include a photo shoot with a Ghostbusters ambulance, as well as various games.

The event is organized by the Madison Heights Arts Board, the same group behind the outdoor murals popping up around town, and the strolling musical festival Trail Tunes.

According to member Laurie Geralds, who has chaired the Pumpkin Walk all three years, the attraction most likely to draw attention this year will be the “Sacred Witches of Madison Heights.”

The show will feature volunteers dancing to a viral hit from Germany called “Schüttel deinen Speck,” by German pop and reggae artist Peter Fox, also known as the “Shake Your Bacon Song.” which was turned into a dance by the group “Wolfshäger Hexenbrut Walpurgis Wolfshagen im Harz.”

“For people who may have seen the original video, our costumes will have more of a pagan or nature feel, instead of the gypsy costumes and strong witch facial characterizations,” Geralds said in an email. “Since this is our first year (doing this dance), we are coming up with ideas as we go along, and we’re enjoying the creative process.”

More dancers are welcome, and can get involved by emailing lbgeralds@yahoo.com.

At press time, Geralds said the plan was for Dotten Collision to sponsor the Ghostbusters ambulance, while the Madison Heights/Hazel Park Chamber of Commerce was sponsoring the Sacred Witches, and Biggby Coffee is once again providing hot beverages.

In addition, the Pumpkin Walk is welcoming back the Madison Heights Police Department, Madison Heights Fire Department, Madison Heights Women’s Club, the art students from Page Middle School, and Diane Hartwell, who are all contributing in various ways.

A small part of the funding for the event comes from the Arts Board, but much of the event is made possible by the generosity of residents and groups who have donated treats and activities.

“Since we are expanding the trail and number of stations, we are more actively looking for station sponsors to contribute money toward the candy and prizes,” Geralds said.

She noted that the event will be able to accommodate a maximum of 500 people, so each station will need 1,000 pieces of candy or 500 small prizes.

Donations can be dropped off at the City Manager’s Office, located inside Madison Heights City Hall at 300 W. 13 Mile Road. Checks can be made payable to “City of Madison Heights” with “Pumpkin Walk” in the memo line. Volunteers are also needed to help along the trail and at stations. Donors or volunteers can email lbgeralds@yahoo.com.

Of course, the Pumpkin Walk will feature pumpkins all along the path. The Arts Board is looking to borrow plain or creative pumpkins to decorate the trail.

“We didn’t have many last year, and look forward to creating more glowing areas,” Geralds said. “We encourage residents and groups of all ages to help. They are asked to drop them off by 5:30 p.m. and encouraged to pick them up at 9 p.m. to use for other holiday decorating over the weekend. If groups would like to submit several, we would plan to set aside a specific area in advance. I encourage them to reach out to me.”

Madison Heights Mayor Roslyn Grafstein said that she’s excited to see what the planning committee has added to this year’s event.

“As always, this will be a fun event for families of all ages to enjoy at Civic Center Park,” Grafstein said. “This year, I’m most looking forward to the addition of the witches dance.”

Madison Heights City Councilmember Mark Bliss, the creator of the Arts Board, said he’s thankful the group has brought back the Pumpkin Walk once more.

“My kids and I loved the Pumpkin Walk,” Bliss said in an email. “The planning committee led by Chair Laurie Geralds has done an outstanding job of creating a safe and fun way for all of the smallest residents of our city to enjoy Halloween. They’ve done great work, and I can’t wait to see the smiles on (the children’s) faces as they enjoy it.”

He said the event brings back memories of the Jaycees Haunted House and “Friendly Monster Day” that was once a Halloween staple in the community.

“I’m so glad that my kids get to experience an awesome event like that in the same park that I did as a kid, but mostly I’m thrilled to have the chance to give them yet another example of what’s possible when a group of citizens who care about the community work together to create something as amazing as this event,” Bliss said.

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