Donations support Old Colorado City’s ‘Safe Treats’ at Halloween this year

       In the past, the Old Colorado City Associates (OCCA) merchants group has funded the bulk of the costs for the historic shopping district's annual Safe Treats candy/toy giveaway and costume contest on Halloween.
       Not this year. Set back by red ink from last May's Jefferson Starship concert, the OCCA board was forced to tell Lori Kasten - the event's long-time volunteer coordinator - she was on her own.
       (True, many of the merchants typically buy candy on their own, but there's no way they alone can keep up with the 1,000-plus costumed urchins who flock though Old Colorado City every year.)
       Kasten took the OCCA situation as a challenge. She set out to gather donations. The result could be the sweetest Halloween ever in Old Colorado City.
       “It's going really well,” she said of her fund-raising efforts. “When people are giving to children, it's a different story. We've already surpassed what we've received in the past.”
       While the event will look much the same - trick-or-treating from 3 to 5 p.m., followed by the costume contest at Meadow Muffins - Kasten plans some subtle enhancements over past years. For example, not all the handouts will be candy. There will also be “non-traditional things,” such as toys, gift certificates, meal tickets or even money to “some little goblins who aren't expecting it,” Kasten chuckled.
       A savings bond will go to the winner in each of the four costume-contest age categories: 0-2, 3-5, 6-9 and 10-13.
       As in past years, high school students, many in costumes, will deploy along the avenue between 24th and 27th streets, each of them armed with goodies to give out. This year's students will be members of the Widefield High forensic team. The students will be stationed in “dead spots,” where there are no stores or ones that aren't participating in the event, Kasten said.
       She admitted she's relieved that so many business people stepped forward with donations to help Safe Treats thrive again this year. As she pointed out, it wouldn't have done much good to try discontinuing it. “The kids are going to be out on the avenue whether we do something or not,” she said.

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