CORBIN — For the past six Halloween nights, John Monroe has stood in a custom made costume on the corner of Poplar Avenue and 1st Street. Silently standing, not saying a word, he points in the direction of White Oak Street when trick-or-treaters are near.
“It started because my aunt lives on White Oak Street,” said Kelly Barnett who stands with Monroe. “Nobody ever knew there were houses back there, she never had any trick-or-treaters.”
Barnett says that she and her two sons decided one year to pass out candy at her aunt's house.
“To get kids to realize there was candy down there, my two boys would stand on the corner with signs and say ‘hey, candy over here!’”
Monroe is Barnett’s oldest son’s best friend, and decided to join the group the following year in helping raise awareness about the candy on White Oak Street.
“It just took off from there. My oldest [son] is in college, gone now. The other is in high school busy with his stuff, but John has stayed faithful to it, and he loves it and he loves the reaction of the people,” explained Barnett.
Every year Monroe tries to outdo his previous year’s costume. This year, he went as far as adding incense to his costume and made custom necklaces to pass out to trick-or-treaters.
“So far I’ve given three away,” says Barnett. “The first person not afraid of him this year was a little girl. She was in awe of him.”
Monroe has even built up a small following who specifically search out for him on Halloween night.
“There was one family who stopped by and were like ‘oh my gosh, we came back this year just to see if he would be here’ and that has just encouraged him more,” says Barnett. “We have a blast.”
Monroe spends about a year planning and creating each costume that he wears.
“After this Halloween he’ll start figuring out what he’s going to do next year. He spends a year doing it.”
Barnett says her aunt actually approached her this year about not passing out candy this Halloween.
“She goes, ‘I just don’t know if I’d pass out candy, but she says ‘John comes back, and I just can’t help it, I’ve got to pass out more candy.’ He’s the reason.”