Pandemic leads to record-breaking entries in annual Irvington Halloween House Decorating Contest

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Historic Irvington Halloween Festival is returning for its 74th year, despite the pandemic having canceled or altered most of the weeklong festival’s scheduled events.

Most noticeably absent from Saturday’s lineup was the street fair. Festival organizers say the fair is known to attract thousands of visitors to the notoriously spooky neighborhood named after the writer Washington Irvington, author of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.”

“Our street fair we made the decision to cancel in June, but we still worked to bring a sense of Halloween to our community,” said festival director Nancy Ann Tindall Sponsel.

The Vampire Run is one tradition the pandemic didn’t scare away. The Halloween 5K race had a limit of 200 people and the course was moved off the streets to the Pennsy Trail to allow for social distancing.

The festival is also hosting in-person Ghost Tours Halloween night at 7 p.m. to a limited number of people.

Other events were moved online during the week like the Spooky Organ Concert and Spooky Stories from Irvington that families can replay Halloween night.

For those wanting to get into the Irvington Halloween spirit but still maintain social distancing, the festival has set up an online map of homes entered in the annual Halloween House Decorating Contest.

This year the contest saw a record-breaking 28 entries.

“I think people have time on their hands to get creative and to show their neighbors and the community that Irvington still loves Halloween,” said Sponsel.

To view the map and plan your trip to Irvington for the Halloween Festival, click here.


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