If the success of Seymour’s Downtown Trick or Treat was measured by how much candy was handed out, it would be safe to say it’s one of the most popular and well-attended local events of the year.
More than 1,500 children and adults, most in costume, flooded the downtown sidewalks Monday night for Seymour Main Street’s 10th annual downtown trick-or-treating.
Some costumes were scary, including monsters, witches, killer clowns and zombies, while others, like The Simpsons family, little Jane Fonda, Minions, Cousin It and presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton were hilarious.
While some costumes were store bought, other families decided to use their creative talents to make costumes and save money.
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A total of 61 local merchants participated Monday by standing or sitting outside their businesses to greet people and distribute candy and other goodies or by donating items to give away. Main Street members also were posted at corners, passing out treats, helping direct families and keeping an eye on motorists.
Dana Killey said she and her husband, Alan, have been participating in the event for years.
“I think it just keeps getting bigger every year,” she said. The two own and operate Hair Force Beauty Academy at 110 W. Second St.
The first year, in 2006, there weren’t many businesses that participated, and Main Street asked those that did to purchase enough candy for 400 kids.
“We had 800 pieces then, and we ran out after 45 minutes,” Alan said.
Last year, there were 1,200 kids, he said, and he anticipated 1,400. Even with that much candy, the Killeys still ran out by the end of the night.
Dana said the event has become a family affair for many in the area.
Although it may be good for business to hand out candy, there’s really only one reason the Killeys do it each year on the Monday before Halloween.
“We just like kids,” Alan said.
And since the two moved above their business a few years ago, there’s another benefit, Dana said.
“We don’t get trick-or-treaters on Halloween anymore,” she said.
But that is more than made up for by the number of kids they see now during the event.
Tiffany Robbins brought her two kids, Raelyn, 3, dressed as a princess, and Aiden, 2, dressed as a monkey, for their first downtown trick-or-treating experience.
“It seemed like it would be a fun thing for them to do,” Robbins said. “It’s nice that they get a lot and don’t have to go far. It’s all right here in one place.”
Robbins said Raelyn is usually shy and quiet, but the event was helping her become more outgoing.
“She’s really come out of her shell for this,” Robbins said. “She’s going up to everyone and saying ‘trick or treat.'”
Amanda Easton, owner of Lea Boutique, a new downtown business at 114 N. Chestnut St., had no idea what to expect when she decided to hand out candy. She was surprised by how many people showed up.
“We couldn’t have had better weather, so I think a lot of families took the opportunity to come out,” she said. “I passed out around 900 pieces of candy.”
Being able to trick or treat downtown is a fun and safe way for kids to celebrate Halloween, and it’s a great way to attract new customers, she said.
“It gives families an opportunity to come downtown that might not usually spend much time here. They may not know what types of businesses are located downtown,” Easton said. “It’s great to see the local businesses and organizations working together to put this event on.”
Since opening her clothing boutique this summer, Easton said she has been very involved in all of the downtown events.
“So I didn’t want to miss this one,” she said. “I enjoyed passing out candy and seeing all the unique and creative costumes.”
She even got in the spirit by dressing up herself as a cat.
“That was my favorite part. I haven’t done that in years,” she said.
Instead of candy, volunteers with Read Jackson County handed out books to trick or treaters. All of the books are donated or come from a partnership with Goodwill.
“We gave away 1,000 and ran out with about 10 minutes to go,” said Matt Nicholson, director of Read Jackson County/Plaza Latina. “When all the candy is gone, kids will still have a book to read.”
But some kids preferred the candy, he added.
“Some kids loved it, and some crinkled their nose at it,” Nicholson said.
The night didn’t end with trick or treating, as members of the Seymour High School Marching Owls donned costumes, too, playing a medley of spooky music to lead the annual Halloween parade.
Band members were followed by trick or treaters, giving them the opportunity to march through the downtown showing off their costumes to those who gathered on the sides of the street to watch.
Sponsored by the Seymour Evening Lions Club, the parade is a longtime community tradition. This year marked its 50th anniversary.
After the parade, participants gathered in the American Legion Annex parking lot for the costume contest, also sponsored by the Lions. All those entering the contest received candy, and the top three winners in each category won gift certificates.
Community trick or treating hours
Crothersville: 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday
Seymour: 6 to 8 p.m. Monday
Brownstown: 6 to 8 p.m. Monday
Medora: 5 to 8 p.m. Monday