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Megan Larmie (far right) of Studio 101 (an Old Colorado City children's art school) helps trick-or-treaters get candy from a student-made, cardboard "haunted house" in the 2600 block of West Colorado Avenue during the annual Safe Treats Oct. 31.

Photo essay: Waves of costumed kids (and some adults) overflow OCC for Safe Treats

Robot exhibitions by the Coronado High School robotics team were a feature in the Old Town Plaza during Safe Treats. Team members are wearing yellow shirts. According to Coronado engineering instructor Bryce McLean, this particular robot was wearing a "snake costume" for Halloween. Operator Ben Fox (out of view) is using remote guidance here to raise the snake's "head."
       You had to want the candy.
       Waiting their turns to say “trick-or-treat” in exchange for sweet rewards, tightly packed crowds of costumed kids - plus a fair number of adults - patiently shuffled along the sidewalks of Old Colorado City Oct. 31 during the annual Safe Treats.
       For nearly three hours, the historic shopping district was filled with tiny superheroes, princesses, witches, demons, pirates, warriors, angels, skeletons, cats, Dr. Suess "Things" and even a family of Legos. There was also a Peewee Herman sighting (Brian Fortinberry, owner of Front Range BBQ).
       Lead organizer Lori Kasten guessed that it was the largest turnout in the 22 years she's been coordinating the annual Halloween-afternoon event. Her previous estimated high had been 4,000 in 2009, but she felt as if this had even more.
       “I don't remember this many people before,” she said afterward. “I was overwhelmed. We saw trick-or-treaters out there at 9:30 this morning.”
       The main reason for the hordes was Halloween falling on a Saturday this year. Kasten does not promote the event, but after so many years - it got started around 1980, according to past reports - people just seem to know. Plus, some of the bigger media in town, including a TV station, mentioned it on their own.
       But overall, Kasten thought things went well. No serious issues came up, and people seemed to enjoy themselves. “I got a lot of thank yous,” she said. “It was a safe environment for trick-or-treating.”
       New attractions this year were a youngster-oriented “haunted house” at the Old Colorado City Associates (OCCA) business group's Welcome Center in the 2300 block and robot exhibitions in two locations by the Coronado High School robotics team.
       Popular returning activities were games and a cakewalk in the Old Town Plaza.
       A volunteer herself, Kasten was quick to thank the many people who volunteered to help her out. The event is largely planned by herself, her mother Judy and others with Kasten Accounting in Old Colorado City. Friends, family and clients pitch in. Coronado students regularly are on hand - about 65 this year from the Coronado French Club, International Awareness Club and Student Council, giving out candy and acting as crossing guards at intersections. Kasten also thanked the several sponsors, including the OCCA, who made it possible to buy candy and cover other event costs.
       Another volunteer group, assisting with preparations the day before, consisted of about 25 special-needs children from the Foundation for Successful Living.
LEFT: A Lego family (with one apparently "normal" child) waits for the Colorado Avenue light at 25th Street. RIGHT: Kim Leroy (seated in tall hat) provides candy outside Heart Market in the 2500 block while a youngster in an (apparently) inflated costume checks his candy stash.
LEFT: A ring toss game was one of several activities in the Old Town Plaza parking lot during Safe Treats. RIGHT: Jackson Smith, 4-year-old son of Jason and Molly Smith, hands out candy outside the family store, Republic of Paws, in the 2400 block. According to his dad, Jackson was dressed like his favorite character, Robin Hood as a fox, from the "Robin Hood" Disney movie. (Note the tail.)
LEFT: Westside teen Keagan Schell displays his homemade costume. He designed his hunter character based on Destiny, a popular video game. RIGHT: The Old Colorado City merchants' Welcome Center in the 2300 block was turned into an Old West haunted house suitable for younger children. People were able to walk through the front door and out the back, treated along the way to a ghoulishly attired piano player creating eerie chords and various scenes of carnage.
Sept. 16... LEFT: Lesa Ronnau of Piramide in the 2500 block sits with a candy basket outside the clothing store's entrance, showing no fear despite the demonic alien trick-or-treater in her midst. RIGHT: Regally dressed Alexia Baros, granddaughter of Jorge Ayala, takes a turn outside Jorge's restaurant in the 2400 block, providing candy to costumed multitudes.

Westside Pioneer article and photos
(Posted 11/1/15; Business: Events)

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