By Rachel Kytonen
Known as the “Pixy Stix Queen of Isanti,” her Isanti home has become a “must-stop” for trick-or-treaters.
Onalee Canfield, who retired after 36 years from the Cambridge-Isanti School District in 2009, has been tracking trick-or-treaters to her home at the intersection of Whiskey Road and North Brookview Lane since 1996.
She averages around 300 trick-or-treaters each year, but some years has seen as many as 400. And youngsters know when they stop by Canfield’s home, she will have that powdered candy packaged in a wrapper that allows for instant gratification.
“My students would always tell me how much they loved Pixy Stix, so one year I started giving away Pixy Stix as well as the regular candy,” Canfield said. “And ever since, kids kept coming knowing I’d have Pixy Stix for them. And some kids have even learned that if they come back later that Halloween night, and I have some Pixy Stix left, they’ll get a few extra.”
Canfield is ready for another Halloween, as over 3,000 Pixy Stix are stashed in her home waiting to be handed out this Halloween.
“Around 5 p.m. on Halloween night, the activity starts and the fun begins,” Canfield said. “Halloween is really a night when the entire town is out and about, and everywhere you go people are happy and friendly. Halloween is a magical night for the kids and I love everything about it.”
Besides tracking the number of Halloween trick-or-treaters on notebook pages, Canfield will also write personal notes and memories on the pages to reflect different moments in her life.
“In 1996, the year I was diagnosed with breast cancer three weeks before Halloween, I had 400 kids stop by for trick-or-treating,” Canfield explained. “In 2006, the year my husband died, I had 306 kids stop by and keep me company. In 2009, my sister-in-law was here with me and we sat at the table playing cards in our Halloween masks. I’ve written all kinds of stuff on these pages.”
When stopping by Canfield’s home this year, trick-or-treaters will be again greeted by Clarence the Monster.
“When I walked into my home three years ago on a Sunday morning, the monster was sitting on my couch and I screamed bloody murder,” Canfield explained. “My son had built him while I was away over the weekend, and he’s been one of my Halloween greeters ever since, but he did get a new outfit this year.”
Another story involved one of Canfield’s students who didn’t necessarily have the best behavior.
“One year I had this boy in my classroom who was not listening, and he came to my home for Halloween,” Canfield explained. “I recognized him, but he didn’t’ recognize me since I had an ‘old-man’ Halloween mask on. Well I kind of growled at him and he dropped his candy and ran off. The next day, I asked my students how their Halloween went and the boy told me his story about the crazy lady. Well after I told him I was the crazy lady from Halloween night, he suddenly turned into my best friend.”
Having former students and their families stop by her home is always a pleasure for Canfield.
“It’s always great to see former students stop by, and then when they have kids and have them stop by, it’s always a lot of fun,” Canfield said. “Isanti has always been a wonderful town for Halloween. I always love seeing all the scary little monsters come up to my home, and also enjoy taking pictures with them and their families.”
Canfield mentioned all trick-or-treaters are welcome at her home at Whiskey Road and North Brookview Lane in Isanti, and invite families to take pictures outside her home with her Halloween decorations. Clarence the Monster will be waiting.