By Sentry Staff

It’s almost time for HalloweenFest. This Villa Park community event, a highlight for “ghouls”and boys of all ages, will mark its 15th year, thanks to the tireless efforts of Julia Peterson and her crew.

Today’s HalloweenFest originated as a suggestion from then-Mayor Rich Freschi. He asked the Villa Park Women’s League to sponsor a citywide event. Peterson, then a mother of three children under the age of six, mentioned that her favorite holiday was Halloween – and found her name at the top of the clipboard that was passed around. Her committee included the other VPWL members who had signed on to help with the new event. She grabbed the clipboard, dove in, and the rest is history.

“Things have always gone smoothly, “ said Peterson. There Have never been any injuries or problems, other than occasionally a child will cry while on-stage, or a costumed Ninja will want to display his sword skills.

Each year, an additional element has been added to change up and improve on the prior year’s fun.

Alas, this is Peterson’s last year at the helm. After 15 years, she, and her current team -- including Holly von Ting, Buffie Wong, Nicol Jones and Francine Sawyer –plan to hand over their clipboards to a new crew. They are looking for someone(s) to continue the Halloween Fest tradition for the kids and the community.

HalloweenFest will kickoff at 4:30 p.m. on Oct. 30 at Villa Park Towne Center.

Ghosts, princesses, zombies and more!


Julia Peterson, flanked by Holly von Ting, left, and Nicol Jones, right, is the creator of Villa Park’s annual HalloweenFest. This year will be the trio's last at the helm of this event.

Courtesy of Dean Thomas Photography