BELVIDERE, Ill. (WTVO) — For 23 years, Belvidere resident Sheila Fowler has delighted trick-or-treaters with her wicked costume and impressive handmade decorations carefully strewn throughout her home on East Sixth Street.
During this year’s bone-chilling Halloween, Fowler made a bittersweet announcement to the hundreds of eager kids — and parents — the ‘Green Witch of Belvidere’ will be hanging up her broomstick and heading into retirement.
Fowler says the gratitude she’s received from the community has been amazing.
“I found out, I guess, just how many people made this a tradition after announcing I was quitting,” said Fowler. “It’s been amazing. I mean, on Facebook alone the outpour, the private messages I’ve received in regards to it. People last night when they were here… some of them had tears.”
“I’ve had one lady on Facebook that reached out that said she’s 26 and she trick-or-treated here every year when she was a kid and she’s even brought her ten and three year-olds here every year. So, that’s a second-generation group.”
Fowler says all the effort is for the kids that kept her going for so long. “The response from the kids, all the way from the older children that are intimidated by it to the little two-year-olds that want to hug her,” said Fowler when asked about her favorite part of her character. “The joy they see. For many years I’ve said I was going to stop, and then kids come by and say ‘when are you going to start?’ and that’s pretty much what it would take. Then I would start setting it up again.”
Though it’s difficult to let the ‘Green Witch of Belvidere’ fly into the night, Fowler says she’s thankful for every person who visited.
“Thank you for filling the green witch’s heart with so much love and appreciation, especially now,” said Fowler. “It means a lot.”