Ladies, start your coffins.

The first annual Flapper Ghost Forest Park Casket Races will take place Saturday morning at Madison Street and Beloit Avenue. The races begin at 9:30 a.m.

In a town surrounded by cemeteries with more dead than living “residents”, the races were conceived to celebrate Halloween and to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Forest Park Chamber of Commerce and Development.

Secretive preparations have been in the works for months. The Ice Hammer team in particular – a partnership between Shauer Hardware and Nadeau’s Ice Sculptures – promises to present a chilling spectacle.

Laurie Kokenes, the chamber’s executive director, said the races will hopefully be an annual event.

Sixteen teams are signed up to race in groups of two for the qualifying heats. They will represent Forest Park local businesses and some regional entrants, including a team of Oak Park firemen.

A “ghost flapper” will jockey each casket – and the rules say they must wear a helmet.

Caskets must be human-powered by no more than four pushers, and the vehicles’ wheels can’t be bigger than eight inches. Handles or push bars must be attached to the casket.

The caskets with the four fastest times from the qualifying heats will run two final heats to determine the first, second and third place winners. The third and fourth fastest teams and the first and second fastest team will race against each other in the final races.

“At least three of the four runners must be in direct contact with the casket at all times during the race until the casket has come to a complete stop,” say the rules.

“Any casket that has less than three runners in direct contact with the casket during the race will be deemed ‘out of control’ and will be immediately disqualified.”

The teams are: Team Drop Dead Gorgeous (deedee and edee), Freaky Forest Fiends (Forest Agency Insurance), Ice Hammers (Schauer Hardware/Nadeau’s Ice Sculptures), The Big Green Machine (Park District of Forest Park), Centuries and Sleuths Slayers, Accents by Fred, GeoKat Monuments, The Ferdinanders, The Band (Shock Theater), Annie Wodecki, The Zombie Pirates, Crooked Oak, LLC, McGaffer’s Imbibers, Galloping Gillespies, Oak Park Local 95 and Dr. Jerry’s Tooth Fairies (Jerry Udelson Children’s Dentistry).

After the races, “Trick or Treat on Madison” begins. Children in costume with accompanying parents will receive candy from Madison Street merchants. Finally, from 3 to 6 p.m. the Village of Forest Park will present “Ghoulin’ in the Grove” with a free concert by the band Sundance in the Altenheim Picnic Grove, 7820 Madison St.

Jean Lotus

Jean Lotus loves community journalism. She covers news, features, two school boards, village council, crime, park district and writes obits for Forest Park Review. She also covers the police beat for...