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The pumpkins are out at Trader Joe’s, the weather’s starting to feel like fall, and with Halloween about a month away, the Main-Dempster Mile is proud to announce the publication of a Halloween-themed story and coloring book called “Fairies & Scaries.”
“We’ve created a storybook with 31 stories about 31 different local businesses that are either haunted or enchanted,” said MDM Executive Director Katherine Gotsick. “Each story includes an illustration suitable for coloring.”
Kids can read about pirates like Gwendolyn Stealthy, who captained a ship called the Secret Treasure (don’t tell anyone, but some of the items they sell at Secret Treasures Antiques & Collectibles came off of that very ship!) They might also read about Truffle, the fairy that sprinkles cocoa dust on the chocolates at Belgian Chocolatier Piron, or the coven of kindly witches that set up camp where Comfort Desserts Reimagined currently sits, marking their space by surrounding it with lucky key limes.
The idea began with the Fairy Doors of Evanston, a project driven by Lena Kim of niceLena & Friends. “The businesses began naming their fairies and giving them backstories,” said Gotsick. “The fun was contagious.”
During the pandemic Halloween in 2020, the Main-Dempster Mile wrote up those fairy stories and added a dozen or so ghost stories too. Each story was printed out poster-sized and hung in the windows of participating businesses, where people could read them from the sidewalk as they passed by. This year, says Gotsick, “publishing them as a compilation was a natural progression.”
Illustrations for “Fairies & Scaries” were provided by the Ignite team at Search Inc., a Dempster Street business that provides services for clients with disabilities. Ignite clients learn self-management skills and personal development in a balanced approach that includes fitness, wellness and visual arts classes.
“I was interested in having the team take on this project because it’s a great way to get our folks involved in the community,” said Ignite Program Development Coordinator Amanda Bulgrin. “Volunteering is a big part of what we do. At Search, we believe individuals with disabilities should be empowered to help themselves and others any way they can. Giving back to the community boosts confidence because it feels good to do good! It’s also a great way to share our mission of community inclusion and the many talents of the individuals that attend Ignite.” The Ignite team also wrote one of the stories included in the book. You can see a sample illustration at right.
“Fairies & Scaries” will be available for sale at Stumble & Relish (1312 Chicago Ave.), niceLena & Friends (1235 Chicago Ave.), Booked (508 Main St.) and Squeezebox Books & Music (743 Main St.). Retail price is $20, and proceeds benefit the Main-Dempster Mile. “We are allocating any funds raised by ‘Fairies & Scaries’ into our Festival Fund,” said Gotsick. “We can’t wait to hold more concerts, strolling events and street festivals for our neighbors and loyal customers. These funds will help.”