Girls dressed as princesses, boys dressed as zombies, and parents exhausted from late-night costume building came together for the Hillsdale County Hal­loween Party on Tuesday.

Corwin Frolick, 1, shows off his scarecrow costume at the annual Hal­loween party.
Joshua J. Pal­adino | Col­legian

The party fea­tured a costume contest, with winners ranging from adorable babies dressed as hens to children in ter­ri­fying Grim Reaper outfits.

3-month-old Jordyn June won first prize for babies. Her mother, Tabatha June, trans­formed her stroller into a hen house called “Jordyn’s Chicken Farm,” in which Jordyn sat as a fluffy chicken.

Her 10-year-old brother Jaiden June tied for first place in his age group. He dressed as a refrig­erator, with his head appearing as if it were being served on a plate. Jaiden tied with 10-year-old Dane Elston, who dressed as a boy who had been cap­tured by the Grim Reaper.

“I really was just trying to scare people and have a cre­ative idea,” Dane said.

Another family duo, 7-year-old Leeland Frolick and 1-year-old Corwin Frolick, won the costume contest for their age groups. Leeland dressed as a zombie with flowing gray hair, cuts on his face, and tat­tered clothes. Corwin came as a scarecrow with straw hair, overalls, and rosy-red cheeks.

6-year-old Hayez Whaley won another first place prize dressed as a homeless man, with a painted on beard and a sign that read, “Will work for candy.”

After the costume contest, children enjoyed a magic show by Jim Carmody called “The Adven­tures of Count Spooky.”

Throughout the night vol­un­teers from the St. Anthony’s Knights of Columbus passed out candy, cider, cookies, donuts, and hot dogs. Grand Knight Matt Shalosky, with help from about 10 vol­un­teers, orga­nized the event.

Hillsdale stu­dents working with the Liberty Princess Company, which was started by alumna Gianna Marchese ‘17, attended the party dressed as Disney princesses.

“A lot of the kids faces, espe­cially with our more popular princesses like Elsa and Anna, really light up when they see us, and that’s fun to see,” junior Caitlin Lowry said.

The Hillsdale County Hal­loween Party began with former Michigan State Police Officer Larry Mielke in 1979.

“At the time I was a police officer and the police com­mander told me I had to put on a Hal­loween party,” he said.

Mielke said he wasn’t given any money, so he talked to the Hillsdale Police Department. They reserved him a building at the Hillsdale County Fair­grounds.

Orig­i­nally, the party had two parts: A children’s event, with a costume contest and magic show for children, and a dance for teenagers. A few years after Mielke began the tra­dition of the Hillsdale County Hal­loween Party, the dance was ended because “teenagers dancing isn’t what it used to be.”

The party’s purpose was to get kids off the street and reduce van­dalism, so Mielke turned to insurance com­panies, which could benefit most from a reduction in crime and van­dalism.

He asked insurance com­panies for $10 each to sponsor the event and raised $250.

Hun­dreds of kids attended the event that year and for many years fol­lowing, according to Mielke. This year, he esti­mates only about 100 to 150 people came.

He got the event started 39 years ago, but now Mielke leaves event orga­ni­zation to others.