Carpentersville residents coming together for socially distanced Halloween 'party on the path'
Carpentersville resident Beth Miller wasn't going to let the COVID-19 pandemic cancel Halloween in her neighborhood, not with the alternative sitting right outside her door.
Miller, neighbor Kelly Yarrington and a bunch of other volunteers are stepping up to provide a socially distanced Halloween celebration in their Silverstone Lake community of townhouses and condominiums. Already known for her ability to entertain neighborhood children with outdoor movie nights, Miller has organized a Halloween "party on the path" from 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday.
"We started talking about it in the backyard one day and I was like, 'I'm just going to do it,'" Miller said.
Miller charted a course through a 1,000-foot path along Silverstone Lake that features a gazebo at either end to serve as a starting and end point. She and other volunteers will set up 22 stations with toys and snacks for kids, treats for pets and, of course, tons of candy.
Because the stations are spaced about 30 feet apart, there will be ample room for families to stay safely distanced. Add in some Halloween-themed music, and it will be the party few expected to enjoy during a pandemic.
"We didn't really know what to expect, so we just put it out on Facebook to see what kind of reaction we'd get," she said. "It just started coming together."
Miller's movie nights kicked off before the pandemic, but she altered them this summer to make sure the kids stayed safely distanced. She bought a projector and used a bedsheet as a screen, but a neighbor donated an actual screen to help out.
That generous attitude extended to the Halloween party. Miller has received donations from more than a dozen neighbors, whether it's toys or a portion of the 2,000 pieces of candy she's gathered.
She's taping the candy to Popsicle sticks that are planted in florist foam. The foam is glued to poster boards displayed at each station to make it easy for kids to grab and go.
Miller has advertised the party only in her neighborhood, but she expects others to join in. She's planning for a total of about 100 kids.
With the amount of fun she's had organizing the Halloween celebration, Miller's next aim is an Easter egg hunt in the spring. For future events, she's hoping to blend in a fundraiser for charity.
"I haven't even finished this one and I'm already on to the next one," she said.