Residents and visitors strolling down Grandview Avenue are getting a treat in the form of Halloween-themed artwork.
For the second year, students in the art club at Edison Intermediate/Larson Middle School painted the windows of a dozen businesses between First and Third avenues with Halloween decorations.
Art club adviser Chris Sauer estimated about 50 students helped paint windows Oct. 25.
The activity was part of the club's regular meeting, which is held twice a month after school on Fridays, he said.
"They couldn't wait to get down (to Grandview Avenue) and start painting," Sauer said. "We've been talking about this project since early September. The students have been brainstorming ideas for what they wanted to paint on the windows. The only thing we said was nothing too grisly or gruesome."
The students chose many traditional Halloween icons, including ghosts, gravestones, pumpkins and witches.
The number of businesses participating in the project doubled from six in 2018 to 12 this year, Sauer said.
Those businesses are Ford & Associates, Mystic Sisters, Pure Imagination Chocolatier, Myers Real Estate, O'Malley Real Estate/Guy R. Forthofer CPA/Mohr Wealth Management, Village Squire Barber Shop, Grandview Theater and Drafthouse, Stauf's Coffee Roasters, Cub Shrub, Peabody Papers, Nurtur the Salon and the condominiums at the Nurtur building at the corner of Grandview and Third avenues, he said.
The window-painting activity once was a Halloween tradition in Grandview, but it faded away sometime in the 1960s.
The idea to reboot the project was suggested by members of the Grandview Heights High School class of 1967 when they were inducted last year into the Brotherhood of Rooks.
The classes of 1966 and 1967 were the first classes inducted into the fraternal organization since it was officially disbanded in 1961, said Tom Smith, president of the GHHS Alumni Association and a member of the class of 1963. The school board voted to end the group after a state law was passed banning high school fraternities and sororities.
But members of the organization continue to support the high school, raising funds for projects including improvements to the media center.
"The Rooks used to have a tradition that new classes inducted into the fraternity had to complete initiation tasks," Smith said. "When the class of '67 was being inducted last year, they said they wanted to try to bring back the window-painting project."
Smith said he painted windows when he was in middle school.
"In those days, we did it on Saturday mornings instead of Friday afternoon," he said. "We painted windows on buildings below the hill (on Grandview Avenue) as well as up the hill.
"It's great to see this project come back," Smith said. "I'll tell you, the kids today are so much more artistic than we were. They know what they're doing. Our colors would run and we'd end up with a big brown smudge on the windows."
On Oct. 25, fourth-grader Callie Rutter was working on painting candy corn on the window at Myers Real Estate.
"I like painting in general, and I love Halloween, so it's fun to put the two of them together," she said. "Plus, it's just a lot of fun being out with my friends."
When she was trying to decide what decoration to paint, "the first thing that came to mind was candy corn," Callie said. "It's just a happy candy and it makes me think of Halloween."
Fifth-grader Mary Ebert said she was taking extra care to get the details right on the decorations she and her friends were adding to the window at Pure Imagination.
"It's kind of exciting to know that so many people are going to be walking on Grandview Avenue and see our work," she said. "It's fun to add a little bit of Halloween spirit to Grandview."
"I like being able to be part of something that used to be a big tradition in Grandview," fifth-grader Willow Dotson said. "Hopefully, we can keep it going and paint even more windows next year."
Pure Imagination owner Daniel Cooper said he loved the decorations the students added to his storefront.
"It's so great to be bringing back a Grandview tradition and the decorations really give a festive vibe to the businesses along the avenue," he said. "It brings back memories to me of the fun I had at Halloween when I was a kid."
The students seemed to be having a lot of fun while they were painting his window, Cooper said.
"They were laughing and singing songs and cutting up with each other," he said. "It was infectious. It was great to see."
Sauer said the membership in art club has doubled this year from 35 to 70 students.
"Projects like this are a big reason we're seeing more students get interested in art club," he said. "The window project gives the students an authentic connection to the community through art."
The club is designed to give students who are interested in art a chance to explore their creativity outside the classroom, Sauer said.
"The art experiences are more free and less directed by me than in the classroom," he said. "In class, they have to do projects that fit the curriculum. In art club, they have a lot more freedom to do what they want."
The window decorations along Grandview Avenue will stay up through Halloween, Thursday, Oct. 31, Sauer said.