The population in Windsor has surged and the reaches of town have ballooned in the past 30 years, but one thing that has remained steady is the sense of community at the annual Halloween Party, slated for Wednesday from 6-8 p.m. in the Community Recreation Center, 250 N. 11th St.
The party started in 1982 in an effort to give kids a safe place to have fun and parents peace of mind at a time when the infamous Tylenol killings left seven people dead in the Chicago area after the popular drug was tampered with on store shelves.
The tragedy gripped the nation in late September that year, putting everyone on edge as the Halloween holiday approached.
“We wanted to provide a safe alternative that the parents felt good about and where the kids would be in an environment that was controlled,” said Windsor police chief John Michaels, who has been in town since 1976. “The thing we always wanted to hold on to was the town feel.”
Now in its 30th year, Michaels said the biggest changes to the annual party have included the elimination of the costume contest, though kids are still encouraged to show up as ghouls and goblins. Depending on the weather, about 100 people attend each year. The festive atmosphere includes games and, of course, plenty of candy from various groups across Windsor including the Kiwanis Club and the Windsor Optimist Club — a long-standing sponsor of the event that prides itself on serving the area’s youth.
“It’s very much community oriented,” said former Optimist Club president and longtime member Rod Bledsoe. “To me, if people give back to the community they live in, well I don’t think there’s any greater reward.”