‘Golden tickets’ may lure back families of costumed visitors

       For years the lingering criticism of the annual Old Colorado City Safe Treats Halloween event - whether deserved or not - has been that it makes individual merchants buy candy for kids but doesn't mean shoppers coming back.

Safe Treats scenes in Old Colorado City Oct. 31... LEFT: Jack Roth, owner of Smoking Gift Headquarters, shares a moment with people he gave candy to. RIGHT: Arielle Hardesty of Meadow Muffins, in fairy costume, enjoys an exchange aftermath. The dad was telling his daughter, “You didn’t even say trick-or-treat!”
Westside Pioneer photos

Safe Treats scenes in Old Colorado City Oct. 31... Sox the Fox "helps" the giving effort.
Westside Pioneer photo

       But this year organizer Lori Kasten recalled how the fictional Willy Wonka hid “golden tickets” inside a few of his chocolates. So she copied the idea, with merchants tucking free-item pledges inside 60 of the many candy and gifts handed out Oct. 31.
       Will it work? The proof may take a while, but Kasten has already felt the joy of having “a little girl come in to redeem her golden ticket, and the look on her face was priceless. I guarantee her family will tell their neighbors the good time they had.”
       Kasten estimated the overall costumed visitation at about 2,000, and expressed appreciation for her volunteers, including Coronado High. “I'm just thankful that we still have community spirit and that everyone pulled together,” she said.

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