The spooky season has arrived, and Golden Belt residents say they can’t wait for a return to a “normal” Halloween this Sunday, Oct. 31.
Kids can get a jump on the search for candy – and another chance to show off their Halloween costumes – Saturday morning at the Downtown Halloween Boo, sponsored by the Great Bend Kiwanis Club. It starts at 11 a.m. Saturday in Jack Kilby Square and continues until 2 p.m., weather permitting.
Amanda Urban, the parade coordinator, said this is a return to the traditional Halloween Parade along Main Street, where kids dress up and gather goodies from tables set up on sidewalks on both sides of the street. This year, there will be participating businesses from all around Great Bend joining the Main Street vendors. Several churches will set up their trunk-or-treat giveaways around the courthouse. Police and fire department vehicles will also be in the square.
Participants will stay on the sidewalks to walk north on Main to 17th St., crossing to walk south to 12th St., and crossing again to return to the courthouse square. Members of the two Aktion Clubs will help Kiwanis volunteers at intersections to make sure children cross safely.
The parade was not held last year because of the pandemic. Instead, in 2020 the Kiwanis Club organized a drive-through candy giveaway at Brit Spaugh Park. Members were ready to try that again in 2021 but, due to popular demand, they decided to return to the traditional walking parade.
We asked readers on the Great Bend Tribune Facebook group, “Great Bend Connect,” how families are approaching Halloween this year, when it comes to trick-or-treating and the parade.
“Broadway should be open for business!” Barry Bowers said, adding his wife always plans for 600-700 trick-or-treaters as Broadway Ave. is a popular venue.
“I think doing the normal parade is great!” said Courtney Cormack. “Our kids need normal as much as possible! As goes for our family, we treat-or-treated last year and will do so again this year.”
“Bring on the kiddos,” Mechell Miguel agreed. “Our neighborhood is planning on handing out candy like normal this year!!”
Amy Esfeld commented, “I will hand out candy but plan to use our candy ‘shoot/slide’ like last year. It was just so much fun and it was nice not having to worry about the kids tripping on the steps, so I think that is something we will bring back each year.”
Also on Saturday
First Presbyterian Church, 2400 Washington St., is sponsoring a Treat in the Trunk in front of the church parking lot from 5-6 p.m. on Saturday. Costumes are optional and the event will be canceled if it is raining.
The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Rochelle Walensky, said it is safe to trick-or-treat this year but families should still use caution. In an interview with ABC’s “This Week,” Walensky recommended trick-or-treating outside, limiting crowds and avoiding crowded Halloween parties.
The usual safety tips still apply.
Sunday is the official day for trick-or-treating. Several churches have announced Sunday events as well.
• Trunk or Treat at 4 p.m. in the Holy Family School parking lot, 4200 Broadway Ave.
• Treat Street at Grace Community Church, 210 McKinley St., from 4-6 p.m.
• Fall Fest from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at First Southern Baptist Church, 19th and Harrison.
• The Nazarene Church will have its Great Candy Harvest tables set up at 5 p.m. at Washington and Broadway.
• Heartland Community Church, 4907 Tenth St., will host Trunk or Treat night from 5-7 p.m. in the church parking lot.
Trick or Tree
Incidentally, the Great Bend Tree Board is accepting photos for the 2021 Trick or Tree Contest, now through Oct. 31. There are four categories and the winner of each gets a $50 gift certificate. To enter, visit the Great Bend Tree Board Facebook page and post photos.
The U.S. Census Bureau reports there were an estimated 41 million potential trick-or-treaters – children aged 5 to 14 – in the United States in 2020. Barton County’s population in 2019 was 25,779 and 4,563 of its residents were 5 to 18 years old.
Here are some Halloween facts from personal-finance website Wallet-Hub:
• 82%: Share of Americans who are confident they will find safe and creative ways to celebrate the Halloween season, despite the pandemic.
• $10.1 Billion: Projected Halloween spending in 2021.
• $103: Average per-person expected spending on Halloween this year.
• $3.3 Billion: Halloween costume spending in 2021.
• $3 Billion: Halloween candy spending in 2021.
• 31%: Share of parents who think 13 or 14 is old enough to trick-or-treat alone.
• 79%: Share of parents who admit to stealing candy from their kids.
• $300+ Million: Annual revenue from ticket sales for haunted attractions, 80% of which are run by charities.