Wilmette, Community

The Fiery Phantom of Elmwood Avenue

Every Halloween, the mysterious villain returns to wreak havoc in a small Illinois town.

No, not Michael Myers — this is a family publication after all.

We’re talking about the Fiery Phantom, a caped scoundrel who rides upon a flame-powered bicycle and menaces Wilmette’s Elmwood Avenue each year.

He cycles the street with a frenzied laugh and spooks anyone who gets to close to the fire.

As dawn breaks, the phantom vanishes — the only thing that remains is the expectation that his reign is not over.

The Fiery Phantom’s vehicle. | Photo Submitted

David Prescott debuted the amusing Halloween character as a treat — or maybe a trick — for the neighborhood kids when he and wife, Peggy, lived in Culver City, California in the early 2000s.

David brought the Fiery Phantom to Wilmette when the couple moved to town in 2012 and according to Peggy, it was a hit on Elmwood Avenue.

Creating characters is second nature for David, who is a visual effects professional in the film industry, working on films like “X-Men” and “The Fifth Element.”

For the Fiery Phantom, it’s rather simple. David attaches a fire poi to a bicycle and tosses on a big black hooded cape. He uses white gas to keep the fire ignited for a couple minutes, Peggy said.

Unfortunately, Peggy said, the Fiery Phantom is scaring up fun oversees this Halloween season.

Though some say, even when they can’t see him, they can hear the phantom’s cackle along Elmwood Avenue.

Share your Halloween story with The Record! Whether a cool display in you or your neighbor’s yard or mysterious happenings in your home’s history or a spooky tradition to celebrate the season, we want to tell the story.

Send your story or tip to newsroom@therecordns.org.

joe coughlin
Joe Coughlin

Joe Coughlin is a co-founder and the editor in chief of The Record. He leads investigative reporting and reports on anything else needed. Joe has been recognized for his investigative reporting and sports reporting, feature writing and photojournalism. Follow Joe on Twitter @joec2319

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