A flash mob performing Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” a surprise appearance by the Headless Horseman, both human and pet costume contests, and a cauldron crawl with special food and drink specials will highlight the inaugural Witches & Wizards Night Out on Saturday, Oct. 19, in the Downtown O’Fallon District.
That’s one of several Halloween-themed events dominating the city’s calendar this month. There will be more treats than tricks for both the adult festivities and those geared towards children.
Whitney Leidner, who owns Refinery Salon, has been fiercely committed to getting the Downtown District on people’s radar, and is one of the organizers of the Witches and Wizards Night Out.
Other towns have “Witches Night Out,” which usually involves shopping, dining and entertainment for women only, but Leidner said they wanted to include men — thus the “Wizards.”
“With cosplay and Harry Potter, a lot of guys are more interested in wizards, so this sets ours apart a little,” Leidner said. “We have 3,000 people ‘interested’ in our event on Facebook.”
Leidner did not want to reveal all the surprises, but the O’Fallon Township High School Golden Girls is producing the “Thriller” dance for the flash mob.
The evening kicks off at 5 p.m. and they are promoting the event as for people age 21 and over. Participants are asked to start at the haunted caboose and for $5, adults can get a wristband for purchasing alcohol. They won’t be carded at each location, Leidner said.
The opening ceremony will feature a reggae “Witch Dance” made famous in Germany in 2016, with the Wolfshager Hexenbrut, aka The Wolf Hunter’s Coven, and became a viral video all over the world. In America, the dance has become associated with Halloween, aka “Samhain.”
Kelli Derengowski of North Carolina revised the German choreography for Americans. The 2008 song, “Shake Your Bacon” in English, by Peter Fox, a German reggae-pop artist, has become an anthem for female empowerment.
O’Fallon’s Unity and Wellness Yoga will lead the dance.
“This should be interesting. I didn’t know this was a thing but apparently it is,” Leidner said. “There are videos all over You Tube.”
The cauldron crawl stops at 9 p.m. and several downtown restaurants and bars are participating, with special theme drinks and food specials. A witches market will include a variety of vendors.
A costume contest will take place at the O’Fallon VFW Post 805 and one at Furchild for pets.
“It’s a huge event with lots of categories,” Leidner said.
Additionally, Bellissimo Photography will take boardwalk pictures, and the event will feature a DJ, gypsies and fortune tellers, Headless Horseman, and more
Leidner is appreciative of the business owners embracing the possibilities of drawing people downtown and the city’s support.
“The city did tell us that big people are looking at downtown O’Fallon. They feel the energy and want to be a part of it. They have been very encouraging in what we are trying to do, and it’s nice to feel wanted,” she said. “The downtown business owners are enjoying getting to know each other. We’re all so busy but this gives us a chance to talk to each other and make a connection.”
Here are additional upcoming events in O’Fallon:
Peel Brewing Company Oktoberfest — Saturday, Oct. 5
Peel Brewing Company, 104 S. Cherry St., has organized outdoor activities between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. to celebrate German heritage and feature its craft beers, including a special Oktoberfest brew, Into Wit. The festivities include a food zone, kids area, beer Olympics, authentic German best dressed contest and live music.
They have added other local food vendors to help grow their event, including 1818 Chophouse, Sugarfire, Sweet Katie Bee’s Organic Bakery-Café, Gias Pizza, and Flamentco’s The Place.
Limited 2019 Oktoberfest Mugs will be available for $10, and gates open at 11 a.m. to sell the 16.9 ounce commemorative container. The first fill will be free, and there is a special beverage promotion — “More Beer for Your Buck Refills.” Live music includes Mr. Deborah from noon to 2:30 p.m., followed by Steel Creek from 3-6 p.m.
Stacey and Jonah from The Arch (Radio Station 106.5 FM) morning show will be on hand in the afternoon.
Here is a rundown of some additional events in O’Fallon in October:
Downtown Dog Days — Friday, Oct. 11, & Saturday, Oct. 12
Downtown Dog Days Julie Hughes of Furchild said this one is about pet wellness.
Rotary Halloween Parade — Saturday, Oct. 26
O’Fallon Rotary Clubs and the Downtown District businesses will celebrate Halloween with annual parade and trick-or-treating business to business. After the parade, there will be games, prizes and more fun inside the O’Fallon Station.
Parade line up begins at noon at the corner of State and Vine streets. The parade itself will begin at 12:30 p.m. and will end at the corner of East First and Vine street. A costume contest will immediately follow. The categories are: Decorated bikes/wagons, super heroes and villains, children under 3 years old, scariest, floats, families, and pets.
“Over 1,000 kids come out every year. We are trying to get the businesses to go all out this year and dress up. We (Refinery Salon) always dress up. One year we were the Addams Family. The Rotary event is more of a carnival atmosphere for kids and then our Witches & Wizards Night Out is more for adults,” Leidner said.
After the parade, trick-or-treating at Downtown District businesses will be ongoing until 3 p.m. Look for the pumpkin in the window to know if the business is participating.
The parade event is organized by O’Fallon’s three Rotary clubs: Rotary Sunrise Club, Rotary Noon Club, St. Clair County Sunset Club, as well as the Downtown District.
Leidner said more information is being confirmed, so keep checking the event page for updates.
“We have a lot in the works but are waiting for confirmation before we put anything out,” she said.
For more information, visit Downtown District’s Facebook page or visit the website: www.ofallondowntowndistrict.com