Merchants ‘treat’ time change is no ‘trick’

Anthony Gonzalez Staff Reporter

October 28, 2013

Downtown merchants have organized a trick-or-treating effort they hope will produce a few ghosts, goblins, and creatures of all kinds on Halloween this Thursday. This year the activity will start at 5:30 p.m., a start time two-hours later compared to previous years.

Trick-or-treating is a customary celebration for children on Halloween. Children usually go in costume from house to house, or in this case business to business, asking for treats such as candy. Traditionally, a “trick” option references a haunt, or an act of mischief should a treat not be provided.

The costume activity runs along the entire corridor of Main Street in downtown Elkin.

According to merchant organizers, they changed the start time to 5:30 p.m. because more businesses wanted to participate, yet struggled with a slew of children stepping into certain businesses during normal business hours.

Other organizers said the shift in time may alleviate heavy traffic problems expected along West Main Street in the residential portion of the neighborhood.

According to the town of Elkin, every year more than 1,000 children make their rounds of candy collection along West Main Street. The influx of parents and vehicles creates a major traffic crisis officials say places children and residents at-risk.

On the table this year were a series of options that included having police block off traffic at the intersection of West Main Street and North Front Street and at Elk Spur Street and West Main Street, limiting entry to residents only, or blocking off entry even to residents.

Another option was to temporarily change the traffic pattern to a one-way street.

Ultimately, town officials nixed any changes citing logistics and costs, but sweetened up to a signage placement plan that they hope will encourage visitors to park and walk. Downtown merchants stepped in coordinating the 5:30 p.m. starting time activity hoping to draw some of the visiting neighborhood traffic toward downtown.

“Participating downtown businesses have bright orange signs announcing the activity posted on their windows. They’ll be handing out treats to kids. The night is a great and safe way to enjoy Halloween,” said Laura Gaylord, community manager for the town and member of the Downtown Advisory Board.

Families are encouraged to park along downtown sections of Main Street and walk.

“It’s going to be a great night for the kids. We’re always ready on Halloween to give them nice treats,” said Jack Mantero, owner of Fiddles Pub on Main Street. “Later in the night, we’ll also have music and a costume party.”

Teens also have an option on Main Street during Halloween.

Chill on Main, located at 120 E. Main St. is sponsoring Halloween Bash for teens at 7 p.m. The costume party will feature a costume contest and a pumpkin carving competition. Cash prizes will be awarded for the best costume. The winner will get $15. Though ice cream will be for sale, free ice cream is provided for the winning carving team.

When informed about the downtown walk, one tot gave a sneak peak on the outfit he would be wearing.

“I’m Batman,” revealed Zach Walker, 4, of Hamptonville, whose parents said they’re taking him downtown on Thursday evening to spend the holiday with his cousins.

The Elkin Police Department is encouraging extra caution for motorists throughout Elkin. Officials there said many children unknowingly dart out in front of a vehicle going from house to house, many wearing masks that may reduce their peripheral vision.

“This is a time to be safe and drive slowly,” said Capt. Kim Robison of the police department.

The police department also recommends placing reflectors on children to help make them more visible.

Reach Anthony Gonzalez at 835-1513 or agonzalez@civitasmedia.com