Participants of the 1995 “Tales from the Haunted Hill” ghost walk enjoy refreshments after the program. (Photo courtesy of Chestnut Hill Conservancy)

by Alex Bartlett, Archivist, Chestnut Hill Conservancy

Over the years, the celebration of Halloween has evolved from a simple occasion associated with placing carved pumpkins on front porches and hanging paper cut outs of ghosts, goblins and ghoulies to a much more elaborate one. In the mid-1990s, locals had a large variety of Halloween-related events to choose from.

For example, the Wooden Train staged its annual Halloween Parade, in which children dressed in full Halloween regalia met at the Wooden Train’s store at 8437 Germantown Ave. and then paraded up and down the Avenue. A block away, O’Donnell’s stationery store held a pumpkin-painting demonstration. Activities weren’t just limited to those for children; adults could attend the Halloween dinner and ball at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. Probably one of the more elaborate events was the annual “Tales from the Haunted Hill” ghost walk held by the Special Events Committee of the Chestnut Hill Community Association. Participants assembled at the Chestnut Hill branch of the Philadelphia Free Library and then headed to St. Paul’s where they were entertained by five storytellers. Among them were Marjorie Stadnycki, Irene O’Brien, Jemma Cannon, Richard Craig and Meade Easby—the latter of whom once frequently held haunted house tours of his house at 111 West Mermaid Lane. Seen in this photograph taken by Joe Morsello and published in the Nov. 2, 1995 issue of the Chestnut Hill Local are participants of the tour enjoying refreshments after an evening of fright and merriment.

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