GREENVILLE — Darke County residents enjoyed a number of Halloween-themed activities over the weekend, from trick or treating at various businesses downtown to a tour of the city’s allegedly haunted sites.
Portions of South Broadway St were closed Thursday evening as trick or treaters and costumed revelers moved in a throng through downtown. Candy was given away by members of a number of downtown businesses, including The Daily Advocate.
The following night, members of Gateway Youth Programs, a nonprofit benefitting children who are in conflict with their family, in need of academic or emotional support, or have been involved with the juvenile court system, sponsored an event called Fright Night at the Greenville Public Library, essentially transforming the closed library into an elaborate haunted house.
Portions of the event were intended to take place outside, but cold, rainy weather forced the volunteers to improvise. Lights were dimmed, portions of the building were blocked off using heavy black and blue drapes, and teenagers dressed as Freddy Krueger, Pennywise the Dancing Clown from the recent film “It,” and other assorted beasties dashed back and forth as a voice sounded repeatedly over the library’s intercom system, announcing “Ten minutes to showtime… five minutes to showtime…”
Library director John Vehre, dressed in a bright red carnival barker’s uniform, greeted visitors at the door.
“Basic rules,” Vehre told patrons as they came in the library’s usually locked second-floor entrance. “Don’t touch the actors and they won’t touch you. Be careful going up and down the steps. And most importantly, have fun!”
Meanwhile, Darke County Center for the Arts (DCCA) put on their annual Ghost Walk at St. Clair Memorial Hall. Actors and volunteers dressed in 19th-century garb guided groups of 10 or so attendees on a walking tour of the downtown area, sharing personal anecdotes and ghost stories along the way.
Marilyn Delk, a member of the committee that organizes the yearly event, led one of these groups. Gathered in a parking lot behind the old Wayne Theatre, Delk spoke about the family who had lived in the building before the theater moved in, and how the lonely spirit of one of its members was rumored to still haunt the location. She also talked about the mishaps and mechanical failures that often plagued the venue.
“If you ever attended this theater, you undoubtedly experienced equipment suffering unaccountable difficulties,” Delk said. “Film inexplicably breaking, projectors unexpectedly breaking down.”
Delk told of one such instance when she had taken her granddaughter to the theater, and the projector cut off midway through the film, leaving the audience in darkness while employees attempted to address the issue. Delk’s granddaughter had been nervous when they initially arrived, claiming to sense something “off” about the theater.
“My granddaughter was scared, but she wanted to see the end of the movie more than she wanted to get out of there,” Delk said. “And of course, order was restored, the movie resumed, and we safely watched Jamie Lee Curtis come out alright in the end.”
Finally, a few creepy activities still remain to fill out the Halloween season. Thriller author Linda Castillo, an Ohio native and writer of a series of Amish-themed murder mysteries, will appear at the Arcanum Public Library this evening at 6:30 p.m.; and trick or treating in the city of Bradford will run from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, October 31.
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