Greenbush Road: The Halloween happening place in Charlotte

Greenbush Road has been a destination spot for trick or treating for some time, but this year the neighborhood is really bringing its ghosting-or-gifting game.

“This year, we’re making it safer, better and more fun,” said Greenbush Road resident Eli Lesser-Goldsmith, adding that safety is paramount.

After conversations with a number of people with long memories, it seems no one knows when Greenbush became the Halloween happening place in Charlotte. Many said it just probably just happened organically.

Photo by Lee Krohn As in years past, the intersection of Greenbush and Ferry roads will be center of Halloween celebration in West Charlotte. Here’s a photo of the monument there from last year.
Photo by Lee Krohn. As in years past, the intersection of Greenbush and Ferry roads will be center of Halloween celebration in West Charlotte. Here’s a photo of the monument there from last year.

As any kid knows, the best place for trick or treating is somewhere with houses close together. You want to get the most treats with the least trekking.

This is one holiday that is not well served by the land-use regulation of five acres for every house, and Greenbush was settled before that became a local building standard.

Besides denser, more treat-rich housing, this year the area will have the added attraction of live music. Lesser-Goldsmith has booked local music legend Lowell Thompson and his band, playing from 5:30-7:30 p.m. in the parking lot of the Old Brick Store.

In years past, Greenbush Road has been “informally closed” from the Old Brick Store for a mile or so to the north with cars still being allowed through, but with the town constable Josh Flore and state police officers slowing vehicles down and stopping traffic at Ferry and Greenbush roads for trick or treaters to cross and hit the houses south of the intersection for candy canvassing.

This year Greenbush will be closed 4:30-8:30 p.m. Cars approaching from the north will be detoured to Lake Road, Lesser-Goldsmith said.

Housing density wasn’t the No. 1 priority for Charlotte Selectboard member Matt Krasnow when he was in elementary school; it was the quality of the treats, so he often trick-or-treated elsewhere in town.

“My parents drove me to the houses on One Mile Road. Miss Titus from Titus Farm had the best popcorn caramel balls,” Krasnow said.

Lots of people cited Ethel Atkins’ fudge as one of the attractions of trick-or-treating on Greenbush Road. Atkins, who cooked in the lunchroom at Charlotte Central School for many years, lived just south of the Ferry and Greenbush intersection. The eyes of those who remembered her fudge rolled back in their heads and they began to salivate with Pavlovian fervor at the memory. After she died, for some years the Charlotte Senior Center gave out fudge.

Historically, the fire and rescue station has been a happy Halloween hunting ground, and this year chief Justin Bliss said the station will be participating. They will be handing out candy — presumably not fireballs — at the station and helping to make sure the walk from the senior center and the town hall will be safe.

Lesser-Goldsmith is encouraging people to park in this vicinity and walk up to Greenbush where parking is severely limited. For those coming from the south headed north on Greenbush, there is parking at The Old Lantern.

Marilyn Richardson said, when she and her late husband, dentist Spin Richardson, bought their house on Greenbush in 1974 just north of the Old Brick Store, Halloween was already popular there. They knew they had to do something special. In line with her husband’s profession, they gave out toothbrushes.

Every year, the popularity of the area for trick-or-treating grew. The first year they gave out about 80 toothbrushes. In 2015, her last year before she moved to Burlington, almost 300 kids got toothbrushes.

Lesser-Goldsmith said he expects at least 1,000 for this year spooktacular festivities.

Richardson said one of the things she enjoyed through the years was the number of adults who were costumed. “As much fun as watching the kids, was watching the parents.”

For at least a decade the town has paid for gas-powered lights at the intersection, but this year the event will have battery-powered lights that are quiet and sustainable.

The use of the parking lot at the Old Brick Store and electricity for the band is due to the generosity of store owners Whitney and Erich Finley, Lesser-Goldsmith said.

“If you’re interested in volunteering the day of, sign up online,” he said. “If you would like to help pay for the traffic control and the band, we would love that, too.”