Creative costuming shines at Playhouse production of trunk or treat

YOUNGSTOWN — Peanut butter and jelly go together like — well, Steven and Sarah Davis.

“The real reason was that it was 50 percent off last year. It was a really easy costume to slip on,” Sarah, of Boardman, said with a chuckle about the red jelly portion of the Halloween outfit she wore to the second annual Trunk or Treat gathering Sunday in the Youngstown Playhouse parking lot on Glenwood Avenue on the South Side.

For his part, Steven wore an accompanying slip-on “peanut butter” top to the three-hour family-friendly event.

About 20 vehicle trunks, each representing a community agency, provided candy and educational resources. They included Stambaugh Auditorium, the HART School of Performing Arts, the DeYor Performing Arts Center, State Farm Insurance, Cadence Care Network, the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra, the Boys and Girls Club of Youngstown, Kelly McKee Foos Photography and the playhouse’s Excaliber High cast.

Steven and Sarah got their connective costumes at Spirit Halloween, a 39-year-old seasonal retail chain that supplies decorations, props, costumes and accessories, and is said to be the nation’s largest such retailer.

Not to be left out of the festivities, their daughter Olivia came to the event dressed as Doc McStuffins, based on the TV program about a compassionate 6-year-old girl who takes care of stuffed animals and toys in a playhouse clinic. They come to life when the character puts on a stethoscope.

Son Jacob wore a costume depicting Thanos, a central supervillain character in “The Avengers” film.

Both children also collected plenty of traditional candy as well, which included Skittles, Twix bars, 3 Musketeers and other treats.

Considerably predating Olivia and Jacob’s costumes was that of Shannon Burns, who dressed as Dorothy from “The Wizard of Oz,” while holding Alfie, her 6- or 8-month old puppy who quietly played the role of Toto.

“My dog was rescued from the side of the road a few months ago. My aunt looked at him and said, ‘He looks just like Toto,'” Burns, event coordinator with Stambaugh Auditorium, recalled.

That observation provided the impetus and influence for Burns to take the next logical step and dress as the iconic Dorothy character, she explained.

Burns’ allegiance to the famous 1939 film starring Judy Garland didn’t stop with her rescue dog and facial alterations, however. Burns also wore red shoes adorned with plenty of glitter and sat next to her trunk that featured a green backdrop of Emerald City.

On the more macabre side of the Halloween ledger was Katie Irgang, marketing coordinator for the State Farm Insurance office in Girard, whose trunk was decorated with a skeleton and several hockey masks, the likes of which were worn by Jason Vorhees, the killer villain in the “Friday the 13th” horror film series.

Far from coming across as a horrifying character, though, Irgang was jovial and happy to have been part of the community-oriented treat fest.

“It’s so much fun and like a sense of community out here,” she said. “It’s nice to see people do nice things for the kids.”

That sentiment echoed the feelings of Emelia Sherin, the Stambaugh Auditorium Association’s educational coordinator, who was grateful for the safe and friendly environment that many Youngstown City Schools students, youth theater participants and others enjoyed. She also praised the more than 30 volunteers for their efforts.

Adding to the safety was providing allergen-free candy, Sherin continued.

Underlying the event’s fun and festivities was the continuing effort to spotlight the playhouse’s deep roots in and commitment to the area’s betterment, John Cox, playhouse board president, explained.

“Youngstown matters; the community matters,” Cox said, adding that he’s thankful to give back to the area, which has been supportive of the playhouse.

The Trunk or Treat gathering also included a costume contest, with prizes for the most creative ones.



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