Scaled-down Safe Treats event proves popular

       Smaller was better for Old Colorado City's Safe Treats on Halloween this year, according to volunteer organizer Lori Kasten.

Coronado High Cougar mascots "help" with a cakewalk in Old Colorado City's Old Town Plaza Oct. 31 during the annual Halloween Safe Treats. Providing a unique backdrop is the almost-finished mural by Jason Baalman on the 25th Street wall of the Chocolate Factory building.
Westside Pioneer photo

       She estimated that the Old Town streets had only about half the 4,000 or so that had filled them on Oct. 31 each of the last two years. “And I liked that,” she said. “We weren't feeding the whole city. I got a lot of comments from parents, that they enjoyed it not being as crowded.”
       Helping her this year again were about 40 students from Coronado High School, plus her mother Judy and a dozen or so folks who have pitched in with the event in the past, Kasten said.
       The privately funded, 2½-hour candy bonanza traditionally attracts numerous kids - as well as adults - in costumes to trick-or-treat from Old Colorado City merchants.
       Safe Treats started about 25 years ago as a little event for the Westside neighborhood, but has grown over the years, roughly quadrupling in numbers since 2005, and reaching its recent high numbers when the last two Halloweens fell on a Saturday and a Sunday.
       There were times last year when the crowds were so thick that intersections were still filled with people even after the lights changed because there wasn't room for them all to cross.

LEFT: Merchants/workers/farm animals at the Barracuda Bazaar (left) and Envi stores hand out candy Oct. 31. RIGHT: The Strawberry Shortcake TV character (aka Coronado volunteer Kellye Rather) helps people cross 25th Street on Colorado Avenue during Safe Treats.
Westside Pioneer photo

       Kasten, who has been coordinating the event with her mother Judy for 18 years, said she was concerned about such safety issues; also, fewer donations came in this year to support the event. So she did not advertise/promote the 2011 Safe Treats at all. She thinks that decision, plus the event being on a Monday, helped keep the numbers down.
       She did confess to one disappointment. The re-duced donations meant she couldn't hold the traditional costume contest (which gave cash prizes to winners in different age categories). She said a few people asked about it, with the most memorable being a group of ladies dressed with keys in their backs who had evidently hoped to enter as a team.
       “I miss the contest, because without it I didn't get the chance to interact with as many people,” Kasten said. “I do want to bring it back.”
       She was pleased, however, with the existing side activities: the cake walks, a “Simon Says” area led by Coronado students and a magician called “Mr. H.”
       Other interesting costumes she saw included “a couple of “Lady Gagas - that was a big one this year - a lot of Spidermen, Batmen and witches.”
       She especially liked seeing parents dressed in costumes, as well as their children. “If they want to try to be a kid again with their kids for a couple of hours, more power to them,” Kasten said.

Westside Pioneer article