The Miami County Sheriff’s Office and the Miami County Park District teamed up for the first time this year to celebrate Halloween Happenings, a Jack-O-Lantern walk at Lost Creek Reserve, and Trunk or Treat, a yearly tradition for the Sheriff’s Office. On Saturday, October 24th, area schools and organizations brought out 200 Jack-O-Lanterns for public display and families had the opportunity to enjoy the warm glow of candle-lit pumpkin creations as well as trunks full of candy offered by local officers.

The rainy evening on Saturday set the stage for the haunting event that featured pumpkins from Mr. Matthews Troy High School art class, Piqua Catholic School (responsible for carving the welcome sign on the front porch of the Knoop Homestead), Bethel High School students, Girl Scouts, Bethel Fire Squad, Elizabeth Township Squad, Troy Fire Department, Troy Police, Covington Fire Squad, Covington Police, and the Miami County Park staff and volunteers. The event was designed to bring together members of the different cities within Miami County to do something fun and enjoy the outdoors. Despite the rain, approximately 400 people came out to appreciate the Jack-O-Lanterns and participate in Trunk-or-Treat, headed up by Officer Phil Osting of the Miami County Sheriff’s Office.

The Jack-O-Lantern walk was organized by the Miami County Park District’s Public Education Coordinator, Tama Cassidy. When she first came on staff with the Park District 12 years ago, only 40-50 carved pumpkins from Bethel High School lined the path for the walk. “My daughter, Kelly, participated in this when she was in high school,” Cassidy said. “She’s grown and married now but still likes to be involved. She’s not the only one. People keep coming back for this event year after year.”

At the end of the Jack-O-Lantern walk, Miami County Park Volunteers served donut holes and hot cider to guests. “We had a lot of people come out considering the rain,” Cassidy said. “It’s the park’s policy that we don’t cancel unless there’s thunder and lightning.”

Several of the pumpkins were picked up by their owners to be reused at other events. The rest will gradually make their way to a compost pile at Lost Creek. With Halloween quickly approaching, the spooky smiles and unique sculptures are a glowing reminder of seasonal fun celebrated across the county.