The Hippo


May 31, 2020








Courtesy of Intown Concord.

Halloween Howl

When: Friday, Oct. 28, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Where: North Main Street, between Pleasant and Centre streets, Concord
Cost: Admission, parking and activities are free (some foods sold may require a fee; parking is available at several area garages)

City of tricks and treats
Halloween Howl returns to downtown Concord

By Matt Ingersoll

 Trick-or-treat, take selfies in costumes with cosplayers and superheroes and enjoy old-fashioned throwback playground games along North Main Street during Concord’s annual Halloween Howl.

The free event, tailored to the younger crowd of trick-or-treaters, will return on Friday, Oct. 28, with road closures beginning at 4 p.m. and festivities held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. 
More than 75 surrounding businesses will open their doors to trick-or-treaters. Some even get creative with costumes and Halloween-themed lights of their own.
“In a typical year, we have about 5,000 people come out,” said Susan Sokul, event and communications coordinator for Intown Concord, which organizes the Howl every year. “It’s just a really fun wholesome sugar-fueled evening. … There is plenty going on and it’s really cool to see the creativity of some of the businesses.”
Sokul said any business in the vicinity of the festivities can participate, and how they choose to do so is usually up to them.
“People can expect a variety of things,” she said. “Sometimes they have a walk-through inside, and others are set up outside. Some decorate like crazy and create a Halloween motif where you would approach and get the candy … so you might be walking in and getting candy and enjoy creative Halloween decorations or a setup that adds even more fun to the night.”
But that’s just one fun feature of Halloween Howl. Liza Poinier, Intown Concord’s operations manager, said there are several other downtown events to look forward to.
“It’s really a party in the middle of the street,” Poinier said. “The biggest features are probably the dance party and the costume parade. At 6 p.m., the kids all line up for the costume parade that will start at the Clock Tower [on North Main Street] and go down to Pleasant Street and back again. It’s a very lively atmosphere and also a great social occasion for parents.”
Members of the Concord Fire Department and the Motorcycle and Mountain Bike Unit of the Police Department will also be visiting the Howl to interact with the community, offering their vehicles for kids to check out, Poinier said.
“We always have police and fire there for security, obviously, but this year they will be there more to interact with their community as well,” Poinier said. “We’ve kind of done that on and off over the years.”
New to this year’s Howl will be old-school playground games like hopscotch, jump rope and foursquare, in the middle of Main Street, thanks to Intown Concord’s partnership with the city’s Parks and Recreation Department.
“It will be a fun throwback element that doesn’t have any calories or sugar,” Poinier said. 
Well, maybe a little bit of sugar.
“We’ll also have a hanging doughnut game courtesy of Dunkin’ Donuts where plain doughnuts will be hung on a pole and kids compete to eat the doughnuts with their hands behind their back,” Sokul said.
A continuing trend that’s been emerging at the Howl over the past couple years has been adult cosplayers dressed as superheroes, princesses and others, not to trick-or-treat, but to take photos with the kids.
“[Double Midnight Comics] started bringing their superheroes, and then once their other networks heard about it, we started getting pockets of people who found out about the Howl to come and show off their costumes,” Poinier said. “It’s been really fun to see some of the cosplayers get swarmed by all the little kids wanting to get their picture taken with them.”
Sokul added that it’s become an annual show to watch the cosplayers while kids wait in line to trick-or-treat.
“You see characters of all shapes and sizes decorating the streets and they actually act the parts, so that makes it really fun too,” she said.
Other offerings at the Howl will include a performance by the Nashville-based roots rock group Dusty Gray from 6 to 8 p.m. in Bicentennial Square. Restaurants like Puppy Love Hot Dogs and Bike and Bean will be selling hot dogs, coffee and more for the duration of the event.

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