By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
MELVINDALE – Summerlike temperatures graced the Harvest Fest Trunk-or-Treat event Oct. 22 at the Civic Arena, letting children and adults wear their costumes without coats as they collected Halloween treats.
Residents and area businesses decorated vehicles with a Halloween theme as they handed out treats, and two tractors pulled guests in wagons on a haunted trail ride. Cider and donuts were served, along with hot dogs and other treats.
Mike Kollmorgen, who drove a tractor pulling a wagon full of guests along a haunted trail, said decorative lights, a fog machine and wagon decorations were added to the experience this year.
“Every year it seems like it is getting bigger and bigger,” Kollmorgen said. “It’s fun, they can ride as much as they want and it’s all free.”
Robert Irwin, who decorated his vehicle with macabre touches and donned a grinning skull mask and black robe, said he has fun wearing a scary costume as he interacts with the children and adults. He said the monster babies in the back of his vehicle get people to do a double take as he hands out candy.
First-timer Jerry Land, husband of Councilwoman Michelle Said Land, said he was having fun handing out candy and seeing all the cute costumed children, but he was worried that he wouldn’t have enough candy to hand out.
Michelle Said Land, who was pouring cider and handing out doughnut holes to visitors across the path from her husband, said she would try to get him in costume next year, perhaps by tempting him with a Marvel superhero costume.
“The most fun for me is seeing all the kids and seeing the community coming together and just enjoying themselves as a whole,” she said. “It’s a beautiful night for it.”
Genia Marsee, who wore a Renaissance Festival faerie costume, said she liked seeing all of the interesting costumes.
Land said she likes seeing people out enjoying a fun community event and showing creativity with their car decorations as well as their costumes.
Martha Marsee, who was working the grill, said she had already cooked 160 hot dogs, with many more to go before the end of the evening.
She said she likes seeing the children dressed up, and seeing the city coming together as a close-knit community while they work together to make events like this possible.
Malia Canfield, 11, from Canton Township, who was visiting friends, was dressed as a female Luigi while she pushed a stroller with her 1-year-old brother, Brycen Burke, who was dressed as Max from “Where the Wild Things Are,” which she said was her mom’s idea.
“We were looking at the book and she thought of him being in the costume, and so she bought it online,” she said. “He was that for his birthday party, too.”
Canfield said she enjoyed walking around with her friends and getting candy, and she liked the fog effects and the costumed characters jumping out during the haunted trail ride.
Bryan Valrance, manager of the DTE Energy service center in Melvindale, said that while DTE participates in Trunk-of-Treat every year, this is the first time they brought DTE’s pink breast cancer awareness trunk.
“Giving back to the community is what it is all about,” Valrance said. “We are in the field every day, talking to people, doing work at their house or in front of their house.”
He said by participating in events like Trunk-or-Treat and handing out Halloween candy, they establish more of a community presence.
“We are volunteering to come out here tonight,” Valrance said. “It’s all good and this is true support of the community, with the guys giving their own time to come to Melvindale.”
(Sue Suchyta can be reached at [email protected])