Seated in your living room, your favorite chair comforts you like an old friend. Your sweater, thick and warm, hugs you tight in a comfortable embrace. The fire is blazing, your drink is hot, and the walls of your warm home protect you from the harsh cold that lashes through the October night. For most, this is how October is envisioned. The green leaves on the trees are fading to shades of orange, yellow, and red, one-by-one the branches molt their colorful skin and slowly go bare. Fall is in full swing and your heat is on full blast.
To the young and young-at-heart, though, this does not ring true. Though some would like to think of October as beautiful and colorful, others like to envision ghosts and goblins, skulls and skeletons and monsters of every shape and size. For them, October is full of frightful events: haunted houses, spooky hay rides, terrifying corn mazes and, most importantly, CANDY!
Hundreds of young monsters, ninjas, princesses, skeletons and other fantastical creatures swarmed downtown Valparaiso on October 25, to get an early taste of the tricks and treats that are to come. The business located on the square as well as other local businesses came together to hand out treats to local tricksters so that they could get a head start on the Halloween festivities.
Children weren’t the only ones decked out in festive costumes: teens, parents, grandparents, and even the family dogs were taking part in the Halloween fun. Caitlyn, a Valparaiso resident and mother of two young ninja turtles, said,
“I love this. The kids are excited to wear their costumes and this event gives them an excuse to slip into them a little early. This is our second year coming to the downtown trick-or-treat and my kids love it. They get tons of candy, which makes them happy, and they get exhausted from walking and fall asleep on the way home, which makes me happy.”
Along with scary skeletons, menacing monsters, and ghastly ghouls there were many tiny men in uniform. Young boys and girls walked around dressed as firemen, police officers, and even a few soldiers, patrolling the area for the best candy. They weren’t the only uniforms walking around, though. The Valparaiso Police and Fire Departments were parked in front of the courthouse, handing out yummy treats to all those who pass.
Brian Babczak, a local police officer said that his favorite part about the down town trick-or-treating is, “Interacting with the public. I enjoy interacting with the public while they’re out here. I also like making the kids smile and laugh.”
Everything about this even seems effortless, it all flows so easily. Businesses have owners out front, handing out delicious treats and hundreds of families walk around, partaking in the event. As easy-going as it all seems, it takes a lot of hard work and planning to put on this event every year. When asked about the Fall Harvest Trick-or-Treating, Jennifer Peek, the Marketing Director of Valparaiso Community Festivals and Events (VCFE), said it is well worth all the work put into the event.
“So many families come out every year and enjoy the trick-or-treating and the weather tonight is perfect for kids to be walking around in costumes, collecting candy.”
No matter what your take on October is, cozy and warm or creepy and spooky, the Fall Harvest Festival Trick-or-Treating event is fun for all ages. The up-beat music, delicious smells, and laughter fills the air and warms the hearts of all passers-by. Whether you are walking business to business, taking a ride on the tractor, or just passing through, a smile will be etched on your face because, after all, happiness is contagious.