Characters and creatures of every sort including three dinosaurs turned Sidney’s Beacon Avenue into a veritable cabaret of the macabre and colourful as Sidney hosted the fifth edition of Treat Street on Halloween Eve.
By 5 p.m., hundreds, if not thousands of children and adults had turned Sidney’s main shopping street into a teeming mall of trick-or-treaters wearing every imaginable costume from traditional fairy tales and contemporary pop culture, including a tribute to Jurassic Park courtesy of Velma the Velociraptor, an eerily accurate replica of the famous critter. Roaming outside Holmes Realty, the creature drew wary looks from smaller children, excited shrieks from older ones, and astonishment from adults.
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Braving chilly temperatures under a blue sky, the crowd visibly enjoyed itself, with children darting in and out of stores to fill their bags with candy.
Staged for the first time by the Peninsula Celebrations Society in cooperation with the Sidney Business Improvement Area Society, the event sees merchants open their stores for local trick-or-treaters, as well as their parents, many of whom also dress up. Mindful of regular shoppers, other businesses were handing out candy from temporary roadside stands.
“It’s a pretty amazing community event,” said Jane Powell, owner of Buddies Toys, who has been participating in the event since it started five years ago. While people may think of Sidney as what she called an “old people town,” the atmosphere during the event dispels this perception, she said. The event not only fills Beacon Avenue with dressed up children, but also adults, creating a buzz, she said.
“It’s lovely,” she said. “I don’t think there is anything as nice or as simple. It’s good for the community.”
Tami Heywood, a member of the organizing team, predicted Thursday afternoon that this year’s edition was going to be a bigger draw because of the prevailing sunny weather, parents looking for something to do with their children because of the labour dispute in School District No. 63, and new features to the event itself.
“It’s going to be bigger than any other year, because there is going to be more stuff,” said Heywood.
Additions this year include a selfie-station set up by the Sidney Shutterbugs Camera Club, which includes a smoke-making machine bound to conjure up a spooky atmosphere befitting the occasion.
Heather Wrightson, another member of the organizing team, said they have distributed at least 13,000 pieces of candy to 67 participants merchants, many of whom will also offer their own.
“It might be a little bit less, because we have been sampling,” said Wrightson, with a knowing chuckle and twinkle in her eyes.
Wrightson is already looking forward to next year’s edition, which promises to be even bigger and more colourful.
“Hopefully, next year, it’s even going to be bigger,” she said. “We are going to have a contest to get all of the businesses to decorate their windows.”
Based on the response from this year, Velma is likely to be back as well.
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