Kasten not masking idea of topping Safe Treats attendance mark

       After the 2008 Safe Treats in Old Colorado City, organizer Lori Kasten called the estimated 3,500 attendance “the biggest by far” in her 15 years of coordinating the Halloween event.
       This year, with Oct. 31 on a Saturday after two days of no school in District 11, the combined candy giveaway and cash-prize costume contest could attract an even bigger throng, she said in an interview this week.
       “I would think we'll have record numbers if the weather holds,” Kasten said.
       Kasten, an Old Colorado City accountant, heads up a volunteer group that puts on the event, aided by donations - principally from Pikes Peak National Bank - and by the participating merchants who stock up on hundreds of dollars worth of candy to greet the crowds of costumed youngsters who file up and down Colorado Avenue between about 24th and 27th streets.
       A couple of changes are in store for this year's Safe Treats. The event will be from 2 to 5 p.m. - an hour earlier than in the past - and the costume contest should be easier to enter.
       The time change was decided because “once it gets around 6 o'clock, it gets a little dark,” Kasten said.
       The contest will be in the Old Town Plaza parking lot at Colorado and 25th Street. In past years, it occurred inside a local tavern after the trick-or-treating. This year, kids can stop into the plaza for costume scrutiny at any time after 2 p.m., with winners announced at 4:45 p.m. “They can get judged and keep on going,” Kasten said, adding a prediction that the more prominent location could result in twice as many contestants as last year's 100.
       First place in each age category will receive a $100 savings bond, with $50 for second and $25 for third. The categories are ages 0-3, 4-6, 7-9 and 10-13.
       Other scheduled Safe Treats participants are:
  • Coronado High's Future Business Leaders of America club and the school's two mascots, handing out treats and educational supplies.
  • A group of entertainers, including stilt-walkers and jugglers, from the Westside's Manitou Art Theatre.
  • Several area mascots, including Smokey the Bear and the Sky Sox baseball team's Sox the Fox.
           If the weather is bad, Safe Treats will still go on. The costume contest will take place inside the Old Town Plaza building (in the second floor hallway), Kasten said.

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