No school + free candy = record number of kids

      

The intersection of 25th Street and Colorado Avenue fills with candy-seekers during the Safe Treats event in Old Colorado City Oct. 31.
Westside Pioneer photo
A warm and sunny Halloween on a Saturday after two days of no school. Plus a roughly quarter-century tradition of free candy on Halloween in Old Colorado City shops.

Trick-or-treaters at Old West Outfitters.
Westside Pioneer photo

       That seemed to be the formula for an apparent record number of trick-or-treaters in Old Town the afternoon of Oct. 31.
       Lori Kasten, the lead organizer for what's known as the Safe Treats event, estimated “at least 4,000” costumed kids with parents bustling along Colorado Avenue, mainly between 24th and 27th streets. Last year's estimated 3,500 (on a Friday) had easily topped the previous record total of 2,500.
       “It was a beautiful, beautiful day,” Kasten said. “It brought a lot of people to Old Colorado City and made them happy. There were a lot of kids strutting their stuff.”
       The costume contest alone - held for the first time this year in the Old Town Plaza parking lot instead of a local tavern - attracted more than three times as many entrants (412) as in the past (128). Some winning costumes were a girl dressed as an outhouse, a candy corn witch, a bundle of raked leaves and a “pumpkin patch” baby.
       Not all was perfect, the organizer agreed. An estimated 10 percent of the merchants, not wishing to buy large amounts of candy (hundreds of dollars worth is not unusual) and feeling they'd lose business anyway, did not open at all. Others complained in advance to Kasten that the event would hurt sales on a Saturday, which is the key business day in Old Colorado City. But Safe Treats, in keeping with tradition, is always on Halloween, no matter what day of the week it falls on, Kasten explained.
       Another issue had to do with the sheer numbers of people. At 25th Street expecially, costumed pedestrians crossing the street were often held back in the intersection by the dense crowd already on the other corner, forcing cars to wait or drive around them after the light changed.

ABOVE: Judges (at left) scrutinize one of the afternoon's 412 costume contest hopefuls in the Old Town Plaza parking lot.
BELOW: Glut of people causes an awkward traffic situation at 25th Street and Colorado Avenue.
Westside Pioneer photos



       The chief donor was Pikes Peak National Bank in Old Colorado City. John Georgeson, its CEO, said the bank supports Safe Treats because
       “anything that brings good quality people to the area is good for the area in the long term. They may not buy anything on the day of the event, but it's a chance for us to put our best face forward.”

Westside Pioneer article