The man behind the mask: Anthony Greff

By McKenzie Johnston, Staff Reporter

For 13 years, unofficial Halloween has been a staple of Carbondale party life. Although it may seem at the surface to be an unplanned and spontaneous event, unofficial is actually a carefully curated event managed by one man: Anthony Greff.

Anthony Greff is a marketing and media specialist who received two degrees from SIU Edwardsville in Speech Communications and Media Studies after studying radio and television in Carbondale. Currently, Greff freelances as a marketing specialist. 

Although he doesn’t live in Carbondale, he does have clients in the area. 

Advertisement

“I probably know more about what’s going on in town than the people that live there,” he said.

Carbondale has struggled to control Halloween celebrations since 1977. 

Off-and-on bans and restrictions on bar hours and liquor sales, and various ordinances meant to help control noise as well as population ultimately resulted in a collection of local laws collectively referred to as the Halloween Ban. 

See more: (Frightening history)

In 2000, 2015 and 2018 news circulated about the Halloween ban being lifted.  

See more: (Carbondale hosts Halloween events, first time officially in 18 years)

“Carbondale’s Halloween was kind of a half-hearted attempt,” Greff said. “They kind of waited until everything was too late to bring it back, but that’s more of a family-oriented event. Unofficial has always been college.”

Unofficial Halloween was originally created by Casey McCutcheon and Steve Mulderink in 2007. 

See more: (Hundreds turnout for Unofficial Halloween)

Greff collaborated as it developed further in 2009, and ultimately took control of the planning in 2010.

Soberly Intoxicated, another project of Greff’s from 2009, served as the bridge for him to take over unofficial Halloween. The idea behind Soberly Intoxicated was “to give people one place to see all the events in town,” he said.

For Greff, the important thing about taking over unofficial was to “make it more business-friendly and more rewarding for the City of Carbondale,” he said. 

This opened up sponsorship opportunities and made unofficial Halloween a money-making opportunity for local businesses, Greff said. 

This year, unofficial picked up a sponsorship from Johnnie Brock’s Dungeon. In the past, Greff said unofficial has been sponsored by Fireball and Schlafly.

The long-term plans for unofficial are uncertain, however, despite the event being a tradition for over a decade.

“This year, I didn’t know if [unofficial] was going to happen,” Greff said. 

One business approached Greff about the plans, and he decided to go ahead with planning it again this year, he said.

Bryan Woodruff, owner of Traxx, said Greff  “has always been the one that set the day that [unofficial] is and put out all the advertising.” 

Traxx does not work directly with Greff, Woodruff said, although Greff does contact him after unofficial to ask about turnout.

Low enrollment numbers at SIU and a lack of interest in the city of Carbondale are why Greff said he does not expect unofficial to be around much longer. 

“It’s reached a new low point,” Greff said. “This is the first year I didn’t do t-shirts for it.”

For now, as long as businesses are asking for unofficial, Greff will keep it going, he said. But for how long will unofficial remain a Carbondale tradition? 

“Unofficial is on its way out,” Greff said.

Staff reporter McKenzie Johnston can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @TheMcKenzieJ.

To stay up to date with all your southern Illinois news, follow the Daily Egyptian on Facebook and Twitter.

Advertisement