Why We Celebrate Halloween in Marshall Illinois

Every year, the excitement rises as the temperature falls, and the air is crisper, and the days grow shorter. The long shadows follow us down Archer Street as we finish our shopping or are closing up our stores and businesses to head home.

At school, in Illinois, the younger kids are doing Halloween art projects and thinking about costumes. The teens are deciding whether they are too cool for such things or not. The local churches are setting up pumpkin patches. The seas of orange on fields of green grass make us shiver a little with anticipation of the spookiest yet most exciting night of the year…


We all love candy; even though most of us are too old to don a costume and ring doorbells, the kids love it. We love when they come around to collect the goodies waiting for them at our houses and local shops. Of course, we are all interested in keeping everyone safe, especially with what we have been enduring these many months. This is a time when no one will be arguing about masks, at least; Halloween masks, that is!

Adults will go to parties and attend costume contests at the local watering holes. It’s all about who is the funniest, most clever, or maybe the sexiest. It’s not for everyone, but those who have the spirit, will work hard to win a prize or get a laugh. It’s all in good fun.

But what is Halloween really about?

Halloween is a contraction of the phrase, All Hallows Eve. It’s a time in the Christian tradition to honor one’s dead, the faithful departed, and all the saints and martyrs of the religion. It may have started from a Celtic tradition with pagan roots. Some stricter Christian sects do not celebrate the day as it is not a proper holiday.

What are the typical Halloween traditions in Illinois?

Trick or Treating has always been a mainstay activity. In many towns, playing tricks on people who don’t participate, like tossing eggs at their house or wrapping toilet paper around buildings, is a part of the fun. With the current TP shortage, that will likely not be an event this year, thankfully!

Carving a pumpkin into a jack-o-lantern is not as simple as it used to be. Elaborate designs and expert carvings can be seen on many a porch. If the lantern is lit, the house is saying come over for a treat. Some organizations will set up haunting attractions like haunted hayrides and haunted houses, and the ever-popular corn mazes can be made scarier for the occasion.

Many churches have services and ask that you light candles on the graves of your departed loved ones. Some even make the holiday a day to abstain from meat-eating like other holy days.

What are the Halloween highlights around Marshall, Illinois you ask?

Halloween falls on a Sunday this year, so some of the festivities will happen on Saturday night, especially for the kids, so they aren’t sleepy on Monday morning when the school bell rings.

On October 30th, we have two great events downtown.

Trunk or Treat – Halloween in Illinois

Bring all the kids in the family downtown to get the goods! They will be able to walk safely through the trunks full of treats set up by both businesses and individuals who will be handing out candy and goodies. The trunks will be lined up on Archer Ave. between 5th and 7th streets, and the streets will be fully blocked off for safety’s sake. The fun starts at 3:30 and is over by 5:30 pm.

If you would like to participate with your own trunk or one for your business (a great way to advertise), you must register with the Marshall Chamber of Commerce or the City of Marshall.

The 91st Annual Fall Frolic:

The city of Marshall has been doing this costume contest for as long as anyone can remember. It’s an institution. Categories run from ages newborn to 1-year-old, 2 to 4, 5 to 7, 8 to 10, 11 to 14, 15 and older, and the ever-popular group/family categories.

These festivities are co-sponsored by The City of Marshall and the Marshall Chamber of Commerce.Judging starts at 5 pm at the courthouse square, and there are cash prizes given to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place in each category. Every entry will get a dollar just for showing up!

Citywide trick or treat happens from 6 to 8 pm:

The fun continues with trick or treating all over town.

Whatever you do to celebrate, be safe, be smart, and have a blast in our lovely hometown, Marshall, Illinois!