Howell community celebrates Halloween

Rachel Cichon and Rachel Cichon

halloween1By Staff Writer: Rachel Cichon

Every October, the Howell Area Parks and Recreation Authority celebrate the spirit of Halloween with their treasured event, the Legend of Sleepy Howell. The occasion is considered Livingston County’s premiere celebration of Halloween and is based upon Irving Washington’s 1820 novel, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Annually, the streets of downtown Howell are lined with vendors and businesses, selling food and other products to the many people that flock to the event each year. On Saturday, Oct. 26, the eleventh Sleepy Howell is guaranteed to take place, rain or shine.

Sleepy Howell provides all ages with fun opportunities to experience while enjoying the energetic community and live music provided at the event – trick or treating down Grand River, campfires (complete with storytelling), inflatable ghostly graveyards for children, a broom ball, costume contests for pets and humans alike, hay rides, a viewing of the Disney film The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, and a personal favorite for many, the annual Headless Horseman 5K/10K race.

The Headless Horseman race usually attracts over 1,500 athletes. Starting at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 26, the race begins and ends near State Street in Downtown Howell, and brings the runners, who are encouraged to dress up as their favorite character of Halloween lore, through the Lakeview Cemetery, all while being cheered on by stationed volunteers.  Awards, refreshments and late registrations will all be held at State Street, where they can be reached by the runners.

Any early registrant receives a race packet and long sleeve shirt for the event. The race costs $25 if the runner registers early and $30 if they are late. Any runner who registers after Oct. 24 is continued late, and cannot be guaranteed a shirt.

The event is located mainly on Grand River in Downtown Howell. The occasion goes from 5-9 p.m. and is not likely to be disappointing. Each year, the many activities already available still increase, as local businesses promote themselves by creating other fun events for families and friends to enjoy, such as a maze put on by the Howell Carnegie Library.

The event still needs more than just the runners and the businesses helping out. Volunteers are encouraged to sign up and help keep the event running smoothly. There are a variety of uses for the volunteers – setting up and taking down the attractions, staffing stations, keeping order as a crossing guard, or cheering on the runners in the Headless Horseman race. Volunteers must go to a mandatory meeting at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 24, located at the Bennett Recreation Center in Downtown Howell, and will receive a free shirt.

Anyone interested in volunteering or running the race can register at Sleepy Howell’s website, and anyone interested in celebrating this annual event is welcome to venture to Downtown Howell on Oct. 26 and witness the spooky tradition firsthand.