The residents of Tillson Street in Romeo love Halloween. In fact, their love for the season, and their impressive annual displays, have earned them the title of one of the best small town Halloween destinations in Michigan by travel website, Trips to Discover.
And this year, all the Spooky Season fun is getting even bigger with the all-new Romeo Screech Fest.
“The Terror on Tillson is such a great draw for the downtown community, and our restaurants and retail establishments really benefit from it,” says Elizabeth Miller, the executive director of the Romeo Downtown Development Authority. “We have always (wondered) why don’t pull from the hundreds of thousands of people coming to Tillson, and we are doing that this year.”
This new festival, named as a nod to the community’s annual summer festival, the Romeo Peach Fest, came about to promote village of Romeo, help support the businesses in the area, and to better evenly disperse the massive crowds that come to see the Tillson Street displays each year.
“We had residents that had safety concerns about how many people come here, and I saw that as an opportunity,” Miller adds.
Every weekend through the end of October, the Village of Romeo hosts seasonal activities for Halloween lovers of all ages including a costume contest, pumpkin carvings, and wagon rides.
Plus, a story book trail at the library, a haunted house at the Masonic Lodge the last two weekends of the month, and of course, the community displays that the area has become known for.
Nolan Kare, a resident of Tillson Street, recommends that you spend an entire day in Romeo to get in on all of the things to do during Screech Fest, and then head to Tillson Street in the evening to see the displays.
Visiting later in the month will also ensure you see the completed displays. A free shuttle is available from Romeo United Methodist Church to Old World Nouveau and Muir Funeral Home, on select days to help you navigate everything.
“Coming at dusk is the best time. That’s when the lights come on and you can see the detail (in each display),” he says. “If you can spend the entire day and enjoy the businesses, do so. Park in the village in downtown Romeo and enjoy all the amenities that we have.”
Miracle on Tillson
In addition to the spook-tacular displays, and all the Halloween fun, guests of the Terror on Tillson and Romeo Screech Fest can also support low-income families through the Miracle on Tillson.
This non-profit was founded by Nolan Kare in 2022 to support members of the community that were hit financially by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In March of 2020, when the pandemic hit and lockdown started, everyone was at home, and I don’t sit well, I was bored, so I opened a food pantry with Main’s Treat Coffeehouse,” Kare explains. “Over the months we made connections with people in the village who were struggling.”
When the COVID-19 pandemic started to wane, he shut down his food pantry, but as the holidays approached, he realized that struggling families may need extra support, so he re-opened the pantry.
In the summer of 2022, he officially registered his food pantry as a non-profit that he named the Miracle on Tillson. Today, Kare collects toys and donations at Romeo’s Screechfest and the Terror on Tillson to donate to local families during the holiday season.
You can contribute to the Miracle on Tillson this October by dropping toy donations in the drop box on Main Street in downtown Romeo or the one at his home on Tillson, the Haunted Halloween Christmas House.