October 21, 2014
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‘March madness’ in October
Jessica Botelho
FIRST PARADE: After taking over the Greenwood Halloween Parade, Kathleen Egan-Usler said she was looking forward to the event. She dressed one of her four children, Harrison, 1, as a monkey just moments before the event began.

“The anticipation is crazy,” said Kathleen Egan-Usler, who for the first time is hosting the 14th annual Greenwood Halloween Parade. “In a minute, the street is going be filled with people, but I’m having a lot of fun.”

More than 400 costume-clad kids from across the state marched last year.

Egan-Usler is carrying on the tradition that fellow Greenwood resident Kim Murray started. Children and adults alike were eager for the event to begin yesterday afternoon.

“It’s really exciting that I get to see a lot of people,” said Julia Maker, 7, who wore purple vampire fangs before she put on her butterfly costume for the parade.

Sean Dunphy, 8, and his twin sisters Meagan and Erin, 6, were equally as thrilled. Sean donned a demon costume while the girls were dressed as Native Americans.

“It’s so exciting because all my friends will be there,” Sean said. “I can’t wait to get candy.”

“We’ve never been in a parade before,” the twins agreed.

Ava Fernandez, 3, dressed as a kitten. She offered two simple words when asked how she felt about the parade.

“Meow, meow,” she said.

Even older children were looking forward to it. Sabrina Sherman, 12, and Alley Kilduff, 11, traveled from Coventry for the festivities.

“It’s really cool,” said Sabrina, who has participated in the parade in the past.

Alley felt the same way and said she was hoping to get a lot of Butterfinger candy bars following the parade.

As for Kathleen’s family, they were happy to see her organizing the parade. Her father-in-law, Steve Usler, was particularly proud.

“I think it’s great that she’s carrying on the wonderful tradition,” said Steve, who has attended the parade more than five times. “Everyone who has ever been knows how nice it is. The little ones get a chance to participate without having to go door-to-door.”

His son, Chris Usler, agreed.

“What Kathleen is doing is so important because not only is she reviving the tradition, she is uniting the community,” he said.

Her neighbors felt the same. They think she is the perfect person to keep Murray’s tradition alive.

“She’s a good fit,” said Will Gilbert.

Jane Creta said, “I don’t think they could have gotten anyone more enthusiastic as Kathleen. It’s great because you get to see your neighbors and it really builds up the community.”

Kathy Blackburn recently purchased her mother’s former home in Greenwood. She said her children trick-or-treated in the neighborhood when they were younger and now her grandchildren, Ava, as well as Viviana, 1, get the chance to get a taste of the neighborhood literally.

“The community is great,” said Blackburn. “People really embrace the kids and support Halloween.”


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