ALPENA - The Halloween Downtown in Alpena hosted by the Alpena Downtown Development Authority has grown into a tradition for residents, as well as the business owners who hand out treats. Because of it success the DDA is adding a new event that will allow people who don't own stores a chance to hand out candy to the children as well.
On Oct. 25 the DDA will introduce "Trunk or Treat" that will feature people decorating their automobiles and handing out treats from the their trunks. The cars will be lined up on Carter Street, behind the Cellar Restaurant on the shore of the Thunder Bay River and near the heart of downtown where the majority of the other activities are taking place.
DDA Director Lesslee Dort said adding Trunk or Treat will let more people take part in the Halloween tradition and for the children to fill their trick-or-treating bags a little more.
"We're really excited about this. It was suggested to us last year and this year it is in action," Dort said. "The downtown of Alpena is everyone's downtown, not just the folks who live and work in it. This allows the others from outside downtown to come here and celebrate Halloween. It is a good way for service groups, school groups and area organizations to come down and participate."
Dort said there are many people who would like to hand out candy, but may live in a remote area where there aren't a lot of trick-or-treaters. She said this provides them an opportunity to hand out treats and enjoy the creative costumes the kids, and adults, dress up in.
"Maybe there aren't many kids anymore in the neighborhood, well this is an easy way for a bunch of kids to come to you," Dort said. "It is also a good way for parents to give the kids a chance to trick-or-treat and not make a bunch of stops. They can come to downtown, walk to the stores that are open and then Trick or Trunk. You can do everything pretty much all in one spot."
The annual event has become one of the most anticipated events downtown each year. Dort said she didn't expect it to become as popular as it is. She said it is a tribute to the store owners downtown for making it a success.
"To be completely honest with you I'm surprised at how popular it is. The shop owners enjoy the festivities from developing decorations, to dressing up in costumes," Dort said. "Let's face it. We're all kids inside and Halloween allows us to not be as serious as our regular day to day routine and lets us have a little fun."
Dort said there is an economic impact from hosting the event downtown. She said because the stores are focused on the children and the holiday, they may not fill the cash register that evening, but people return at different times afterward.
"There are hundreds of families in one area and there may be folks who have never been in a particular store or not know a certain new store has opened and tell themselves I need to come back, because this is a pretty cool place. Then they continue to come back, so it can develop repeat business."
In the past there have been costume contests for pets and the Huron Humane Society has had pets in costumes to attract potential forever families. Dort said there are some talks about having a costume parade, similar to what some other communities host.
The event on Oct. 25 begins at 5 p.m. and runs until 7 p.m. Those wishing to participate in Trunk or Treat can register and learn more by contacting Dort at the DDA office at 354-4181.
Steve Schulwitz can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5689. Follow Steve on Twitter ss_alpenanews. Read his blog, Upon Further Review ... at www.thealpenanews.com.