Freakytown once again filled downtown Saturday with crowds of children dressed in their finest Halloween attire.
Madison County Chamber of Commerce President Tessa Rehkop said she was not surprised by the large turnout, as last year’s event saw nearly 1,200 kids. Thus, reaching 1,500 kids this year with more promotion makes sense.
“I would love to keep adding different fun activities like maybe a maze out of hay bales or a movie projected on the giant wall next to Madison County Service Coordination,” Rehkop said. “Our focus needs to be on getting the lines down so kids aren’t just waiting around most of the time.”
Rehkop said she feels they may need to promote less next year in order to make the event more enjoyable for the local kids.
Madison County Chamber of Commerce Vice President Allison Boyer said the goal of Freakytown is to provide a safe environment for all of the children trick-or-treating, and it is important for the community to give the kids one centralized place to get all their candy.
Boyer said safety-wise the event was a great success and all the kids loved it.
“The purpose is to keep the kids safe, so we are hoping Halloween night, if they haven’t gotten enough candy tonight, they won’t want to go or they will go to the nursing home and see those people or go to the hospital and see those people,” Boyer said. “There are places to go that provide a safe environment for children to get more candy and the older community really enjoys seeing the kids.”
The event did have a special guest this year. The ghost of the Madison County Courthouse made a special appearance as night fell. He could be seen in the top of the tower watching over the event.
Rehkop said she thought it would be fun to have a ghost looking over the event from the courthouse tower.
“The county, specifically Bob Mooney, Patty Yount and Butch Pirtle, were great sports about it and so, one evening we made our ascent into the tower,” Rehkop said. “I was pretty giddy about it because I had always wanted to go up there.”
Rehkop said she is not sure who the ghost is but that he was pretty friendly letting them all take selfies with him and hopes he returns every Halloween to come.
“People had over a thousand pieces of candy and they ran out,” Boyer said. “I know there was as many people around the courthouse as there is for Azalea Festival. There was a constant line down East Main, North Main, South Main and West Main all the time.”
Many from out of town made their way to Freakytown including several from Iron and St. Francois Counties.
Rehkop said the chamber would like to focus the event around the safety of the children and making them feel as safe as possible by shutting down the streets and welcoming children from all over including neighboring counties.
“We would like to thank the Madison County Sheriff’s Department, the City of Fredericktown Police Department, Madison County EMS for being at the event as well as the Power House for the Bounce House, the DJ and everyone for the awesome activities,” Boyer said. “We also want to thank Joan and Paul Schulz and the Russom’s for donating the coffin. There are also going to be drone images. So watch for that on our Facebook page.”
Boyer said she thinks there were 11 more booths than last year and the weather contributed to the high turnout.
“The weather was perfect,” Boyer said. “If it was freezing or if it was raining, it would have been different.”
Rehkop said the chamber took extra measures to promote the event this year. As it was the first year the chamber organized the entire event, she said they wanted to make it extra special.
“I think we’ve helped make the event grow by making it easier to register,” Rehkop said. “Now there is a form online that makes it easy. We also started very early this year marketing the event and getting people registered. I think the biggest thing that’s helped it grow is it’s such a fun event and the kids love it. That alone is enough to make more people want to participate.”
After the Freakytown event ended, many made their way to the Haunted House off of North Chamber Drive at the Fredericktown Fire and Police Community Coalition Training Facility.
Victoria Kemper is a reporter for the Democrat News. She can be reached at 573-783-3366 or at email@example.com