Pumpkin Walk returns to Madison Heights

Halloween fun set for Civic Center Park Oct. 22

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison-Park News | Published October 12, 2022

File photo by Patricia O’Blenes


MADISON HEIGHTS — The Madison Heights Arts Board is kicking off the Halloween season early this year with the return of its Pumpkin Walk event, now in its fourth year. Attendees can look forward to trick-or-treating along park trails, enjoying the atmosphere of a fall night with decor and music to match.

The free, family-friendly festivities will take place at Civic Center Park on Saturday, Oct. 22, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Due to a deluge last year, there will also be a rain date this year, set for the next day at the same time.

Preregistration is required. A signup link can be found at facebook.com/MHArtsBoard, with four time slots available. Since older children also enjoy the event, it’s recommended that families leave the first two slots open for those with younger children.

Entry is from the parking lot of Fire Station No. 1, located by the courthouse behind City Hall in the Civic Center Plaza at 300 W. 13 Mile Road in Madison Heights.

From there, one enters the park on a one-way trail looping around the pavilion and the Jaycees shelter building, distinctive for its four-walled mural featuring surrealist art — one of several such murals around the city that were commissioned by the Arts Board.

Along the way there will be 12-15 stations featuring treats and activities. Previous years featured real pumpkins along the path, but this year will feature a new look.

“We have cut back on real pumpkins because they are often dropped off but not picked up, and it’s a lot of work to remove them,” said Laurie Geralds, event chair, in an email. “We’re working on new ways to create a Halloween and pumpkin atmosphere this year, plus many stations create their own ambience by bringing decorations and lighting.”

The attractions change from year to year. Last year featured the Ghostbusters car and a traditional pagan dance by “The Sacred Witches of Madison Heights.” Geralds said those exhibits won’t return this year, but there will be others to enjoy, such as a DJ onsite keeping things lively.

“We started in 2019, and the response was very positive. The 2020 event that happened during COVID was a testament to the community and their willingness to create a safe outdoor event for our youth. Spirits were high, and it was such a heartwarming experience,” Geralds said.

“Creating time slots for safety also made it easier for families to plan their time and spread out attendees to help the pace for the stations,” she added. “We hope to continue to build a community event that families look forward to every year.”

And it truly is a community event, she noted, organized by the Arts Board with help from many other community groups, including the Madison Heights Food Pantry, the GFWC Madison Heights Women’s Club, the local library, and the city’s police and fire departments. Businesses get involved, as well, including Biggby Coffee and Hopcroft Funeral Home. In addition to sponsorships, the event is made possible with donations from residents.

Those who want to pitch in can drop off donations at the city manager’s office inside City Hall, with checks made payable to “City of Madison Heights,” and “Pumpkin Walk” written on the memo line.

Volunteers would also be helpful along the trail and at stations. They can contact Geralds with questions by emailing her at lbgeralds@yahoo.com.

“The Arts Board is excited to continue to bring interactive community events to the city, and this one focused on younger participants is one of the most adorable things we do,” Geralds said. “Anyone who would like to be part of it is welcome to contact me so we can find a place for you to help create the magic.”

Roslyn Grafstein, the mayor of Madison Heights, said she looks forward to it each year.

“This is a great Halloween tradition started by the Arts Board. It’s another free and fun family event that is open to everyone in the community,” Grafstein said via email. “Younger children who may be scared of the dark can come out earlier to see the sights, while others can enjoy the displays in the dusk and early darkness. Each year, they add onto the event. … I am excited to see what fun new ideas the Arts Board comes up with this year.”