Girl’s epic Halloween costume a tribute to Dayton’s famous ‘Pumpkin Lady’

Not every kid at Vivian Steele's junior high school Halloween dance "got her" Halloween outfit, but those who did really did.

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The Dayton girl's mom-made Halloween costume pays  homage to the late Judith Chaffin and was enough to win her a Dairy Queen gift card as one of four winners of her school's costume contest.

Credit: Nichole Steele

Credit: Nichole Steele


Chaffin gained local fame as the “The Pumpkin Lady” for starting the Stoddard Avenue Pumpkin Glow in Dayton’s Grafton Hill neighborhood back in 1994. It has grwon from about 30 Jack-o-lanterns in the beginning to about 1,000 today.

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The free community pumpkin glow is scheduled for  6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday, Oct. 28 and Tuesday, Oct. 29 on the hill next to Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, 500 N. Belmonte Park N.

Credit: Nichole Steele

Credit: Nichole Steele

Vivian’s family visits the pumpkin patch on steroids every year and plans to volunteer to carve pumpkins this weekend, her mom Nicole Steele told this news organization.

>> The Stoddard Avenue Pumpkin Glow needs your help

Community members are invited to gut and carve pumpkins in a heated tent near the church 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday to Sunday of Oct. 24, 25, 26 and 27.

Volunteers are asked to sign up  here.

Nicole Steele said the idea came from her friend, Sarah Greathouse, who couldn’t convince any of her own kids to be a pumpkin glow.

Credit: Nichole Steele

Credit: Nichole Steele

“I thought it was an awesome costume and a great way to pay honor to Judy,” Steele said.

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Steele, who swam with Chaffin until she became to ill to do so, made her daughter’s outfit out of a grass-printed table cloth, battery operated pumpkin lights and a wedding dress hoop skirt.

Nichole also made her daughter’s T-shirt.

This year’s glow will market the first since Chaffin’s death in December 2018.

The baton for pulling off the cherished community event has been picked up by her neighbors, led by John Edinger, president of Grafton Hill Association.

Credit: Nichole Steele

Credit: Nichole Steele

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