Jenna Knepper ‘21 and Cambell Geibel ‘21: Ghosts, skeletons, and all things scary, litter the yards of the houses on Tillson Street. Town residents highly anticipate the Halloween season at Romeo’s spookiest attraction. Walking the streets and seeing displays and decorations, people from all over, love spending time on Tillson street each year. As October hits, the street comes to life and residents spend hours upon hours hammering nails and hanging various decorations to create their signature spooky scenes.
While locals and travelers from far and wide love this seasonal tradition, many don’t know the history and origins behind it. Participating in this annual celebration since childhood, Romeo High School Football and Track coach, Michael Lee, grew up on Tillson street, watching the celebration begin and evolve over the years.
“I grew up on Tillson St, in the same house my father grew up in so my family has lived on Tillson street since 1947,” said Lee. “My mother’s birthday is on Halloween and she always had a Halloween party. She always decorated for us and as the neighbors got younger more people started to decorate. Back in the day only a couple families decorated but now the whole street is involved and all the neighbors help each other out.”
A community effort, those who live on the street come together to prepare the street for Tillson tourists around the start of October.
“Finding the time to get your decorations put together is the hardest part. We all try to help each other out on Tillson. The street is always open and it is a free event that we love to do,” states Lee.
What started as a few neighbors putting out decorations turned into an attraction that many come to enjoy. Tillson Street not only proves a fun place to take friends and family, but it also creates a safe place to trick or treat for some children that miss out on the excitement of Halloween day.
“The Sunday before October 31, we close down the street for an hour or so to allow children that are fighting cancer and their families to do their own trick or treating. Some children are not able to be out with other children that night, so this provides them with the ability to safely trick or treat like the rest of the children” said Lee.
Rich in tradition and community, Tillson comes alive in a way that draws the whole town to its decorated street.