Costumed families walk the path at Civic Center Park in Madison Heights during last year’s Pumpkin Walk. This year’s event has been rebranded Trail of Treats.

Costumed families walk the path at Civic Center Park in Madison Heights during last year’s Pumpkin Walk. This year’s event has been rebranded Trail of Treats.

File photo by Patricia O’Blenes

‘Trail of Treats’ gets Madison Heights into the Halloween spirit

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison-Park News | Published October 8, 2023


MADISON HEIGHTS — An October tradition gets a new name this year: The Trail of Treats.

Once known as the Pumpkin Walk, the family-friendly event will take place from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 21, at Civic Center Park, located at 360 W. 13 Mile Road, with parking and entry from the fire station parking lot behind City Hall and the courthouse. The rain date is 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Oct. 22.

According to event chair Laurie Geralds, this is the fifth year that the event has been held. Admission is free, but attendance is limited to four time slots of 125 people each, and preregistration is required. Volunteers are also sought to help along the trail and at activity stations. To register or for more information on volunteering, email

Attendees can look forward to a one-way trail with 14-18 stations featuring treats, crafts, games and more. From the park entrance near the fire station, the trail winds between the pavilion and painted activities building. A DJ will also be on-site.

As for the name change, from “Pumpkin Walk” to “Trail of Treats,” Geralds said the problem was that many real pumpkins would be dropped off to decorate the event but wouldn’t be picked up, and it was a lot of work to remove them. She said she looks forward to seeing how the stations create their own ambience by bringing their own decorations and lighting.

The event was a hit from the moment it debuted in 2019, she added, and it returned each year during the pandemic where it served as a safe, socially distanced event outdoors. While the event is organized by the Arts Board, many other community members and groups help make it possible. Donations made payable to “City of Madison Heights” — with “Trail of Treats” on the memo line — can also be sent to the city manager’s office at Madison Heights City Hall, 300 W. 13 Mile Road.

Sean Fleming, a member of the Madison Heights City Council, said he and his wife attended the event last year.

“You can even take your dog there for a walk. We dressed up our dog as a pumpkin,” he said. “The whole event is very family oriented. The atmosphere is great with the lights at night. They had so many activities last year, like a game of bowling where you knocked over ‘Star Wars’ stormtroopers with a giant rolling ball. And we had our K-9 officer there for kids to meet the dog.

“It’s just a great time for young kids and teenagers to attend, and when they trick or treat there, it’s local and it’s safe. You don’t have to worry about strangers giving them any questionable candy,” he said. “The police are there, too, which makes it even safer.”

Mark Bliss is the mayor pro tem of Madison Heights, and the founder of the Arts Board.

“Calling this year’s event the Trail of Treats is also a tie-in to our branding with Trail Tunes, focusing the event more on a trail and the activities, because we’re not doing disposable pumpkins like we have in the past,” Bliss said. “I want to give my appreciation to the planning committee and all the volunteers who have helped make this an incredible event throughout the years. When we formed the Arts Board six years ago, we had a goal in our head to create more activities like this that bring the community together, and it’s great to see that realized.

“And for me personally, as a parent, I know how important it is to find safe Halloween activities for your kids,” he said. “On Halloween, we haven’t always had the best luck with rain, so this event gives families another opportunity to let their kid enjoy the holiday, in case they miss out on Halloween due to weather or sickness. In a best-case scenario, they will get to enjoy both for double the treats and double the fun.”

Roslyn Grafstein, the mayor of Madison Heights, thanked the Arts Board for their efforts.

“It’s been six years since the inception of the Arts Board. During that time, they have consistently been bringing no-cost art and culture to the city for all our residents to enjoy,” she said in an email. “Their impact is far-reaching, with people of all backgrounds and ages coming to Madison Heights to enjoy the fruits of their labor. (The Trail of Treats) is just another example of the family-friendly events they host for everyone who is a child at heart.”