Newton Falls – You know you live in Ohio when…choosing a Halloween costume involves figuring out how to include a warm coat in the design or coordinate over layers of leggings and long sleeves for insulation.You know you live in Newton Falls when… it’s the last Thursday night of October and ghosts, goblins, and every manner of other creatures are roaming the downtown business district not in search of candy or caramel apples but rather in pursuit of the all-purpose bakery confection that is cake and frosting. Well, usually. This year, for the first time that many residents can remember, the annual Cake Walk and the Trick or Treat festivities that traditionally precede it were scheduled separately, with the Cake Walk planned for the night before Halloween and the candy chasing expected on the holiday itself. However, with the impending weather of Hurricane Sandy threatening to play a trick on this year’s merriment, community children were treated to an unexpectedly extended sugar-gathering season with Newton Falls’ activities eventually teamed up again and pushed back to the first Saturday in November.

As the sky lightened up a bit in the afternoon hours, residents wrapped up their trick or treating as the siren’s call of the annual Cake Walk drew them to the center of town to display the town’s alternate personalities, some scary, some pretty, some a little of both, to take a chance at winning one of the donated cakes on display in the centerpiece of the Halloween celebration.

Festive tunes entertained the crowd while organizers set up a number of arches around the closed-off street and local businesses set out tables filled with candy and warm drinks to help attendees get into the “spirit” of the day. Dressing up was not required, but certainly encouraged, and there was no shortage of creativity presented. Couples coordinated, families dressed in theme, and even pets joined in the fun. (Seen on the street: What do you get when you add a timepiece to a pooch? A “watch”dog. :: rim shot :: ) Decorated strollers, wagons, and skateboards served a dual purpose as vessels to cart around tired children and their hoards of loot but also as vehicles to transport onlookers to another place and time as “flower baskets,” “racecars” and mini “pirate ships” dashed on by.

As appropriately creepy music played ticket holders marched the circle of gates set at various points along the path. To gain passage at each gate, a participant had to hand over one of their tickets. When the music stopped and an airhorn sounded, the most recent person to turn in a ticket at each of the various arches was given a voucher inviting them to choose a cake from among several sugary offerings.

Whether an individual’s goal was to be serenaded by terrifying tunes, perhaps go home with a sweet treat, or simply immerse in the array of eye-catching costumes on display, it was an experience to be enjoyed by the creepy, kooky, mysterious, and altogether spooky alike. One might say it really did “take the cake.”

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In addition to her role as a contributing reporter for the Weekly Villager, Mialie T. Szymanski is the creator of the bi-weekly column “Puppy Tails”. This children’s story time column stars Doodle Dog, a floppy-eared puppy who has an optimistic perspective of the world around him. Szymanski’s picture book “Doodle Dog Enjoys the Day” chronicles a day in the life of this “paws”itive pup. The upcoming
read-aloud anthology “Puppy Tails: Adventures of Doodle Dog” is a collection of the columns and
illustrations as seen in The Weekly Villager over the last year.