The Student Voice of Coastal Carolina University



Something’s brewing in this South Carolina city

The spooky tradition continues for a second year
Morgan Purkhiser
The streets of Halloween, South Carolina feature festive decorations including string lights and pumpkins.

For the second time ever, Conway decided to continue the tradition of changing their name to Halloween, South Carolina.  


Downtown Conway is known for its elaborate Halloween decorations put up by the town. This alone has drawn in tourists in the past, but the name change is another move to attract more visitors. 


Conway City Mayor Barbara Blain-Bellamy is currently involved in a major political campaign for reelection that is set to be held on Nov. 7. She led the decision-making process for this change since, at the time, the City of Conway was trying to figure out what the best step was for the town. 


“So, the issue was how do we separate ourselves from the masses? What is it about Conway that could make us really stand out in the right light?” Blain-Bellamy said. 


The City of Conway has been unofficially named “Halloween” for the entire month of October. City Administer Adam Emrick is credited with coming up with the idea for the name change. Blain-Bellamy said Emrick approached the council with the idea about a year and a half ago. 


“It sounded like a creepy good idea,” she said. 


The City of Conway City Council voted on the name change, which requires the signature of every member. However, not every member of the City Council agreed on the decision, so Mayor Bellamy decided to order a proclamation. A proclamation allows the mayor to make an official announcement without any permission from the rest of the council. 


“The intent was not to take away from the beautiful history of this community, which is a thing that some people found fault with,” Blain-Bellamy said. “Rather, it in my mind, was a way to single us out, make us special, make us look different than anybody else and give people a reason to come.” 

The City of Halloween is decked out in haystacks and pumpkins scattered throughout town. The jack-o-lantern candy baskets displayed in the trees are known to be a must-see for visitors.  

Mayor Barbara Blain-Bellamy in her office. (Riley Lehman)

According to Bellamy, visiting the City of Halloween lets individuals embrace their inner-child and enjoy the fun of the season. 


“I believe there is an emotional side to all of this. I think it lifts spirits. I think it makes people, at least, momentarily forget about their issues, their problems,” Blain-Bellamy said. 


Local residents agree that visiting the City of Halloween is a great idea. Lottie Taylor, a junior visual communication design major, said it seems to have brought more people to the area. 


“I”ve seen more of my friends even, going down there to visit and posting photos,” Taylor said. 


Although many love the change, there has been ghostly backlash from those who disagree with this decision. Halloween has been linked to religion which is the main reason for disapproval. The town’s association with the holiday can be interpreted as sinful to some individuals.

“There are people who think that it’s dark, that it’s ugly, that it’s sort of tied to witchcraft and devil worship,” the mayor said. “When you consider 10 or 12 negative pieces from a community of 27,000, that’s really negligible.” 


While the town is all dressed up for Halloween, some local business owners have incorporated this theme into their stores as well. 


It seems that many owners have embraced this holiday tradition, including Bob Martire, owner of Our Next Chapter Bookstore. 


“I gear a lot of the children’s books to Halloween books. From September to now, we’re getting a lot more visitors now,” Martire said. 


Local business owners, like Charlene Butler, are bewitched with the growth in tourism. Butler is the owner of Fair Fashions, a bridal store designed for special occasion formal wear. 


“I think that it is a very wonderful experience,” Butler said. “I think it generates a lot of business for downtown. It just gives the town a little bit of sass.” 


The surrounding neighborhoods have costumed their homes in Halloween gear to show their support for the town and the numbers from last year show that the change was in fact successful in bringing in more customers. 


“Receipts from our local merchants are up somewhere between just shy of 10%,” Blain-Bellamy said. 


This month, Downtown Conway will be hosting both the Conway Halloween Golf Cart Parade and Trunk or Treat on Oct. 28. An additional event to look forward to is the Forest of Fear haunted trail on Oct. 26-28. 


Mayor Bellamy recalls one day when the town was practically at max capacity from all of the visitors. She said it was full of families, couples and children. 


“Everyone seemed to have a bag on their hand. There wasn’t a seat in a restaurant. It did exactly what we’d hoped it would,” she said. 


Due to the success of the name change last year, there was no question for Bellamy if the town would do this again. The mayor predicts that this will become an annual tradition for the City of Conway. 


“I think Halloween, South Carolina is here to stay. I think one day you’ll bring your children to enjoy it. And I think there’s so much more good to come out of it than anything to complain about,” Blain-Bellamy said. 

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Morgan Purkhiser, Photographer
Hi, my name is Morgan Purkhiser and I am the photographer for The Chanticleer. I am a freshman getting a degree in anthropology and geography with a minor in psychology and a certificate in applied archeology, and I am from Spartanburg, South Carolina.    My interests include forensics, photography, and art. I have won second place in the congressional art competition for South Carolina with my photography.   I am planning to become a forensic anthropologist and get a doctorate in anthropology. I would also like to work at a museum as a museum curator or work in artifact restoration. 

Comments (0)

All The Chanticleer Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *