From the bags they received at the beginning to collect candy to the drinks and warm cookies at the end, Halloween was a treat for children in Brownstown.
More than 100 preregistered for Tuesday’s Halloween costume parade, and by the time it started in the parking lot behind McDonald’s, there were around 260 kids and adults participating.
They walked down Sugar Street, collecting treat bags from Brownstown Public Library employees along the way. Then in front of The Jackson County Banner office, candy supplied by the town was handed out.
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Everyone then walked through the first floor of the Jackson County Courthouse, where they received candy donated by employees.
The event finished at Heritage Park with The Peoples Bank employees handing out candy and McDonald’s supplying the drinks and cookies. A couple of businesses on the courthouse square decided to hand out candy, too.
The town, Brownstown/Ewing Main Street and Brownstown Chamber of Commerce teamed on the event for the first time.
Sally Lawson, president of the town council who serves as a liaison to Brownstown/Ewing Main Street, considered it a success.
“When I turned around up here by the library and looked up Sugar Street, I just kind of got this overwhelming feeling,” she said. “It was just so great to see all of the people and all of the families together and the kids laughing and having a good time. Looking back, it was just really heartwarming to see everyone coming out and having such a good time.”
The event was supposed to be Oct. 24 and also include an outdoor movie, but weather that night forced organizers to move it to Halloween night.
Since it was cool Tuesday and it fell on the town’s trick-or-treat night, they decided to just do the parade.
“With it being Halloween, we didn’t want the kids to choose, and it was kind of chilly, so I don’t know if you want kids sitting outside in the cold for an hour and a half watching a movie,” Lawson said. “Maybe we’ll find a way to work that in at some point.”
Lawson said she still heard several positive comments from people, including “This is such a great thing,” “Thanks for doing this” and “It’s something fun for the kids to do.”
“For that being our first time, I am just thrilled, I am just shocked because it kind of came together quick, and then when we changed the date, I wasn’t sure how it would go,” she said. “I just think it has been great. I think everyone has had a good time.”
Growing up in Brownstown, Lawson said she remembers a similar event being conducted in the past. She shared that with the groups planning events in the community.
“It came up in a conversation several months ago that we used to do something like this several years ago, and I could remember it when I was a kid and how much I enjoyed it,” she said. “It’s just something to kind of get the rest of the community involved and do something fun, just offer something more fun for the kids to do and not just trick or treat but really get some good use out of their costumes.”
Jackson County Recorder Linda Auleman was among the courthouse employees handing out candy in the lobby. She liked seeing the kids’ different costumes.
“It’s just great,” she said. “All of the kids are so happy. It makes me feel really good to see them all so happy.”
Jamie Grinstead and a couple of other employees of The Peoples Bank walked down to Heritage Park to greet families and give candy to the kids.
She said it’s important for the bank to be involved in community events. She, too, liked seeing all of the costumes.
“There was a lot of neat little outfits,” Grinstead said. “It’s always important to see things like this going on in the community. … It’s nice for them, especially to involve the kids.”
While she handed out candy, one of her friends, Kirsten Ault Beavers, took her 19-month-old daughter, Rylie Grinstead, on the parade route. Beavers’ daughter Josie, 6, also joined them.
Jamie made the costumes for both girls, who were dressed as Rainbow Brite and her sidekick, Twink. Josie also carried a horse stuffed animal, which Kirsten said was hers when she was a child.
“The weather was good, and it’s good community involvement and fun,” Kirsten said. “There’s a lot of people from (Josie’s) class that were coming, so the kids just all had fun. We live in the country, so we don’t do a lot of trick-or-treating. It was nice to be able to come someplace safe and see a lot of people that (Josie) knew.”
Josie said the best part of the event was the candy, especially her favorite, suckers. She also liked seeing her friends.
“Anything that brings the community together and keeps people in the community is always good,” Kirsten said.
“And that kids can have so much fun on Halloween night,” Josie said.
Lawson said she appreciated everyone who participated in the event, from the families to those who handed out candy or helped organize it.
The town, chamber and Brownstown/Ewing Main Street plan to offer other events throughout the year and do the Halloween costume parade again next year. People are invited to share their thoughts by calling the chamber or via the chamber or Brownstown/Ewing Main Street’s Facebook page.
“Once we’ve done it once, we’ve kind of got the template down. It’s just making it better each year and maybe adding some things,” Lawson said. “If people have tidbits, things they want to see next year or changes they might have, any comments like that, I would love to see it.”
To stay updated with what’s going on in Brownstown, search for Brownstown/Ewing Main Street and Brownstown Chamber of Commerce on Facebook and “like” their pages.