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Kalamazoo's Downtown "Spooktacular"


The temperature has begun cooling down, the leaves have started to change colors, and Halloween is less than a month away!

Last year, the Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership introduced SkeleTour as a way for downtown visitors to celebrate the holiday while also spending time exploring our city. From October 2 through November 2, Kalamazoo’s skeleton-adorned streets came alive with music and live entertainment.

“When this idea first came about, we wanted to have downtown events in the spring, summer, fall, and winter,” shared Sue Huggett, Events Director for the Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership, “We were missing an event in that fall gap and had to search for ideas that we could bring to Kalamazoo.”

Downtown businesses sign a commitment to create a concept for a skeleton that Begonia Brothers decorates and poses. The goal for this event is to encourage people to venture out into the downtown scene, visit the different businesses represented by a skeleton, and take “skelfies” (skeleton selfies) with the boney mascots. Thirty-five businesses signed on to have a skeleton during last year’s SkeleTour and that number has increased to more than fifty for this year’s event.

Additionally, the inaugural SkeleTour featured a kickoff party in Bates Alley, an organized bar crawl, and a Trolley of Terror for guests to ride. Although things will look a little bit different for this year’s iteration, there is still a lot to be excited about.

While the Trolley of Terror is being put on hold due to safety concerns, the Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership is working with Discover Kalamazoo to provide a digital, at-your-own-pace SkeleTour bar crawl. With the launch of the Downtown Kalamazoo Social District and Central Commons Refreshment Area, SkeleTour is the perfect time to enjoy a drink while strolling through downtown.

Despite the shift in plans, the Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership views this as an excellent opportunity for some holiday positivity. Public safety standards regarding COVID-19 will be strictly upheld, and participating restaurants and retailers have been creative and accommodating with their outdoor spaces.

Thanks to overwhelmingly positive feedback from both guests and businesses, SkeleTour is expected to be a fall fixture in Kalamazoo for years to come. In the meantime, the team at the Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership will continue to involve new participants and grow the event’s overall engagement.

Want your downtown business to be a part of next year’s SkeleTour festivities? Email the Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership to learn about the application process.

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