Englewood Safe Walk is ON!


It is official, Englewood's Halloween Safe Walk will fittingly rise from the dead this October 31st, 2021.

The Old Englewood Village Association, OEVA will be sponsoring the 24th annual tradition, that was established in 1997 and supported over the years by Englewood's Community Redevelopment Area, CRA management team. The event will be held on Dearborn Street in downtown Englewood, assuming the spirits of permits, insurance and construction are willing.

Last year the Halloween Safe Walk was not held for various community health and safety reasons. This year, despite the possible complications from the pending construction on Dearborn Street, OEVA is committed to hosting the event, but the final details remain fluid so please stay tuned.

Traditionally, thousands of kids of all ages, mom's, dad's, even family pets costume up and enjoy an evening of trick or treating. Others visit simply to enjoy the spectacle. During the event Dearborn Street is normally closed to traffic which ensures everyone's comfort and safety. Tables full of treats are typically provided by the local businesses, non-profits, even private parties which are requested to register with the sponsoring organization in advance.

Despite Halloween eve being the night that the dead haunt the living, by far the spookiest part of the event is the weather. Southwest Florida can be unforgiving at times because you never know what the end of October will bring. In the past there have been soaking rains that sent revelers scrambling for cover or melting into puddles leaving only their pointy hats behind. There have been cold fronts that marked skimpy costume wearers with pink noses. Some years the air is warm enough to melt even the toughest face paint and thickest candy bars. But most of the time the spirits are kind, and the weather is practically perfect.

Overall, the event is nothing short of amazing but not for the reason most people think. Sure, the street becomes a living river of zombies, vampires, ghouls, goblins, witches, and warlocks, but if you look closer you see the real beauty of the event…the community effort behind it.

It's not just the hero moms and dads that creatively pre-order or spend days making costumes; or even the effort they make getting into the spirit of the event themselves. Nor the endless accessories, like the wands, the ruby slippers, the beads, wigs, hats, false teeth, rubber warts, fake blood, strap on crooked noses, all the way down to the costume matching containers the kids carry.

Part of the "amazing" I notice are the superhero's, typically not wearing capes or costumes. They are the people and the organizations that spend hundreds of dollars on candy and give up hours of their lives to bless the community. They decorate tables, hall chairs around, buy bottles of water to share, set up umbrellas and stand for hours greeting the kids and handing out candy.

Over the years most of us have been both, candy collectors and candy conveyors; my favorite of the two was handing out the candy to the kids, and even a tired mom or dad occasionally to perk them up. Seeing the kids smile as they held up their buckets and having that split second to complement their consumes or ask if they were having fun, made all the effort and all the expense worth it.

The last layer of hero's that most people miss, would be the volunteers that help organize our community events, file the paperwork, pay for the permits, the insurance and make the endless calls to solve problems. They tend to arrive early and stay late, which brings me to my last point.

The best part, the very best part, the part that makes it all worthwhile for every, is when the kids would look back and say, "thank you". The second-best part was when a parent, despite being tired from a long day, knowing an even longer sugar buzzed evening was ahead, would remind their kids to be thankful.

Robert Reil - Englewood Review - 9/2/2021
Mango/Elm Street Traffic/Parking Map
Dearborn Street Plaza Groundbreaking


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