Halloween ‘Safe Treats’ packs Old Colorado City

       With Halloween on a weekend day for the second year in a row, costumed youngsters by the score found their way to Old Colorado City for the Safe Treats event's free candy Oct. 31.

Looking north on 25th Street, the crowded intersection at Colorado Avenue can be seen during the Safe Treats event Oct. 31. Note the 25th Street light is green.
Westside Pioneer photo

       Lead organizer Lori Kasten was pleased with the event, reporting no problems - despite crowds so thick they backed people up into intersections at times - and expressed a personal belief that Safe Treats represents a “two-hour act of kindness into the hearts of children.”
       Kasten said she thought the numbers were down slightly from last year's estimated record of 4,000, “but not a whole lot.”

Organizer Lori Kasten (far right, with microphone) introduces three contest entries to volunteer judges (seated at left)
Westside Pioneer photo

       She wasn't trying to set a record. “Our area can't handle that many people,” she said, noting with regret that a few shopkeepers close during the event because they dislike the time and expense of giving away candy.
       The event has been a tradition in Old Colorado City since about 1980, with Kasten coordinating it for the past 17 years, getting funding help from area businesses.
       Adding to the festivities for the second straight year was an outdoor costume contest in the Old Town Plaza (at 25th and Colorado), which drew hundreds of hopefuls, with savings bonds going to the first three places in four age divisions. Kasten especially was impressed with a costume in which the child was dressed up like a candy store and another who came as a tall building that could light up and which had “a huge gorilla on the back. Then there was the family dressed as Wizard of Oz characters, starring a 4-year-old witch, “who made a point to tell me she wasn't Glinda the Good,” Kasten said, wonderingly.
       Also returning this year were volunteer students from Coronado High School (several of whom were given “stop” paddles so they could direct pedestrian traffic), a contingent from Fire Station 5 with a fire truck and costumed mascots from various area businesses.
       Also on Halloween… The Westside Community Center hosted a “Family Fall Festival” the night of Oct. 31, which was attended by close to 300 people, according to center director Dick Siever.

LEFT: Showing off stockings that would make any witch envious, Tonja Gross of Badda Bing hands out candy at the front door of her store in the Old Town Plaza during Old Colorado City’s annual Safe Treats event Oct. 31. MIDDLE: Some of the crowd along the north side of the 2400 block of Colorado Avenue. RIGHT: The Mad Hatter even made an appearance.
Westside Pioneer photos

       The mostly outdoor event was sponsored by high school students from Woodmen Valley Chapel (which operates the center). Activities included two donated bounce houses, a challenge bike course, a jump into dry leaves and a maze using the even rows of the center's recently built raised-bed garden. Siever said he was “pleasantly surprised” by the turnout, saying the nice weather helped.

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