Recycling for a scary good cause

Huntley Park District’s Halloween Recycling Event was a huge success


The recycled decorations were used for a haunted trail at Deicke Park. (Courtesy of Laura Johnson)

By Mira Terranova

Halloween is easily seen as a favorite time of year for many children. As the pandemic somewhat ruined last year’s Halloween, the 2021 Halloween season went all out. Countless houses were decorated with spooky animatronics, glistening orange and purple lights, and numerous lawn ornaments.

As the season comes to a close, many are already preparing for the Christmas season and throwing their used decorations and costumes in the trash or stuffing them in the attic. 

Huntley Park District’s event coordinator Meredith Johnson developed an idea this year to help brighten everyone’s spooky season while reusing as many decorations as possible at a haunted trail located right in Deicke Park. 

As this was the first year this event had taken place, the park district did not have a ton of decorations or props to use for the trails. Therefore, they reached out to the community for some help; thus, the Halloween Recycling Event was formed. 

The Halloween Recycling Event had been going on since the start of the Halloween season, up until Nov. 6. The advertisement placed all around the Huntley area stated that the park district was accepting donations of adult costumes and masks, as well as indoor and outdoor decorations.

“The decorations donated were used for the haunted trails we hosted this year,” Johnson said. “We were mostly hoping to receive outdoor decorations we could implement.” 

This event would not have been possible without the donations the park district received from the community. Bins of decorations, costumes, and masks were accumulated throughout the weeks of the recycling event. This made planning the haunted trails much easier for those involved. 

“We received lots of donations that were put into use for the trails,” Johnson said. “We were hoping to get more lawn decorations, though.” 

With lots of help from citizens of the Huntley community, the haunted trails took place on Friday, Oct. 22, along the paths of Deicke Park. It was described as a 15-minute walk-through with plenty of actors jumping out to scare everyone who passed by. This event was extremely successful as it had sold out of its 500 tickets. 

The trails were open for children ages 8 to 17, along with adults there to accompany their kids. Children were able to bring buckets to collect candy along the way. 11-year-old Collin Johnson thoroughly enjoyed the trails. 

“My favorite part of the haunted trail was hanging out with my friend and getting scared,” Collin said. “The guy with the chainsaw was the scariest!” 

As this event was victorious for the Huntley Park District and the community, it will surely go on for years to come and for more children to enjoy. 

“We will continue to host this event in the future due to its success this year,” Meredith said. “It was a sold-out event.” 

In fact, kids such as Collin are all ready looking forward to next year’s haunted trails. 

“I would totally attend the event next year,” Collin said. 

It is great that kids were finally able to get out and enjoy a somewhat normal Halloween once again. Parents, stay tuned to preregister for next year’s haunted trails, as your children will not want to miss out on it.