Reaction to the Main Street organization’s decision several weeks ago to cancel an annual Halloween event has drawn sharp reactions from area residents and business owners, however, at least for the time being, the group’s leaders are not speaking publicly on the issue.
Assistant Director Kathleen Hanrahan and President Art Sundry both declined to comment on how the community’s reaction may figure into any event planning for the holiday next year.
Trick-or-Treat on Madison was sponsored by Main Street, and held annually for the past eight years.
In an October interview with the Review, Sundry said the decision to cancel Trick-or-Treat on Madison was influenced by financial considerations raised by participating business owners. As an alternative to the “out of control candy grab” Sundry said the event had become, Main Street members were considering an art fair that might include family activities such as apple bobbing and pumpkin carving.
Jill Krygowski owns the children’s clothing boutique Treehouse located at 7330 W. Madison St., said she is hopeful the annual tradition can be revived. Krygowski said she sent an e-mail to Main Street stating she would be willing to help organize all aspects of a street fair next year. As of early November she said she has not received a response.
“I think if it was better organized it would be a lovely tradition to continue,” Krygowski said.
Several Madison Street entrepreneurs said they are hopeful that Trick-or-Treat on Madison will be resurrected in one form or another next year. Village Commissioner Mark Hosty is the general manager of Healy’s Westside and a member of the Main Street Redevelopment Association Board of Directors.
“I would like to see it return, not just as a business manager, but as a parent,” Hosty said. “I think it could be tweaked a little to make it be not so disruptive.”
Main Street Redevelopment Association decided this fall to cancel the event just weeks before it was scheduled to occur. The decision has proved controversial.
In an online poll conducted by the Review, 59 respondents said they agreed with the cancellation while 75 respondents didn’t agree with the decision. Letters to the editor regarding the issue continue to be received.
The proposal to cancel the event was put to a vote of Main Street members.
“I voted against it,” Hosty said. “I was disappointed.”
Even though Hosty voted to preserve the event he acknowledged it had some problems. Crowds were larger than expected, Hosty said and there was little structure provided to participants.
Rick Stephanie of Paulson’s Paints, at 7400 Madison St. said he understands the feelings on both sides of the issue.
“I think you’ll find that people have some mixed feelings about it,” Stephanie said.
In recent years the trick or treaters, including adults and those without costumes, became more aggressive, Stephanie said.
“An awful lot of the people who came didn’t exactly give you a warm fuzzy feeling,” Stephanie said. “There were fewer people who expressed gratitude. Last year there were a total of four people that said thank you.”
Village Administrator Mike Sturino said he is concerned about the decision to cancel the event and the ill will it seems to have generated.
“I’m not surprised by the reaction,” Sturino said. “I think we need to do some work and mend some fences and rebuild the trust and relationships between the residents and the business community.”