Saturday, October 21, brought roughly 1,500 visitors to Main Street and Cascade Plaza for an evening of spooky, festive, family-friendly fun. Moms, dads, kids, aunts, uncles, friends, and neighbors all gathered—most of them in costume—and collected candy, mingled with witches and warlocks, and celebrated the fall season.
Festivities began at 5 pm sharp, when local businesses and organizations began passing out candy to all kids in costumes, many with bags generously provided by Buckeye State Credit Union, who approached their trick-or-treat stations along Main Street. There were 19 stations in total. A few particularly noteworthy ones were METRO RTA’s “The Wizard of Bus,” where eventgoers had the opportunity to walk through an extra-long bus decked out with a Yellow Brick Road, Wicked Witch, and Wizard; Curated Storefront’s Clayton Bailey’s World of Wonders exhibition in the Polsky Building, which included a meet and greet with a friendly robot; the Akron Roller Derby, who dressed in spooky attire and skated up and down the street passing out candy; and the Ohio Garrison of the 501st Legion, a STAR WARS costuming club. Even The University of Akron’s beloved mascot, Zippy, made an appearance, as did the Akron Bike Party and the Cleveland Ghostbusters. To children with food allergies, non-edible Teal Pumpkin treats like pencils and temporary tattoos were given.
On Cascade Plaza, families played games of corn hole, Connect 4, and giant Jenga. They also decorated miniature pumpkins, warmed themselves around small bonfires, crafted broomsticks, strolled through a Spooky Market full of local retail vendors’ wares, enjoyed a performance by local band Wishgarden, and watched wandering magician Nick Eaton make objects disappear before their eyes. Many kids simply paraded around the plaza in their costumes, excited to be superheroes, dinosaurs, movie characters, and zombies for the day, and thrilled to be taking home a bag of candy.
At 6:30, Summit County Historical Society led a haunted tour of downtown Akron. They guided 25 adults through downtown’s Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area (DORA) and told stories of spooky aspects of the city’s past. As the tour and Main Street trick-or-treating wrapped up, some people returned to Cascade Plaza for a free 7:30 screening of Hocus Pocus. Others made their way to neighborhood restaurants and bars or headed home.
Between Fall Fest and other exciting happenings in downtown Akron on Saturday—such as a Bob Dylan concert at the Akron Civic Theatre and Akron Children’s Museum’s Hands-On Halloween event—it was a vibrant day downtown for people of all ages.