2016-11-01 / Front Page

Downtown businesses welcome trick-or-treaters

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By ALAN BENNETT
Staff Writer

BIDDEFORD — It wasn’t exactly “Night of the Living Dead” on Main Street on Monday, as the city’s downtown came alive with children and parents trick-or-treating at local businesses.

At the city’s sixth annual Downtown Halloween trick-or-treat event, hundreds of youngsters and their families travelled storefront to storefront, laughing and jumping for joy over sweet treats of all kinds.

The event, sponsored by local Main Street organization Heart of Biddeford, is one of many offered throughout the year to draw people to the downtown and boost collective spirits.

“You pretty much tell kids there’s candy and they show up,” said Delilah Poupore, HOB’s executive director. “It’s one of the easiest events to put on.”

A majority of local businesses participated in the event, and children could be seen lining up by the dozens just to get their hands on some free candy. Poupore said the business owners generously donate their time for the trick-or-treating, with most decorating their windows and dressing up in costumes.

She said each business typically purchases 700 or more pieces of candy to hand out to eager kids. The reason they do it, she said, is purely for the fun of the holiday.

“I think everybody loves seeing the kids in costumes. It’s kind of an event that doesn’t have any other goal than to bring people together and enjoy seeing kids in costumes,” Poupore said.  

Several business owners said they look forward to the event every year, and are happy to see the community support positive activities that bring people together.

“The costumes, the kids, their reactions, it’s a fun time,” said John Harkins, co-owner of J & J Antiques. “We’re pretty active here in the community and every year there’s more and more. It’s good. It’s bringing people downtown and hopefully a little business.”

Poupore said the event doesn’t offer much of an economic boost to the downtown shops, but it does its job in getting people out and about.

“The cash registers aren’t necessarily going to ring today because of this, but the community knows that this is their downtown and everybody gets to enjoy,” she said.

Although a definite perk, the event wasn’t just about free candy. Poupore said having shops adorn their windows with spooky displays not only attracted kids and families, it signified the supportive spirit of Biddeford.

“I think whenever you can have continuity throughout the downtown, whether it’s something really official like the city’s putting in new light poles and sidewalks ... or something more spontaneous and pop-up like window decorations, it lets people know they’re in the downtown and in the midst of kind of the heart of the city,” she said.

That spirit was certainly felt among a few new Biddeford residents.  

Karmellah Barter, new to Biddeford, said she can already feel a great sense of community within the city.

“We’re new to Biddeford and this is our first (trick-or-treat). It’s awesome,” she said.

Barter, dressed as a cow and walking with her husband and two children, said she’s looking forward to more events in the coming months.

“Biddeford is very family-friendly,” Barter said over repeated cheers of “I have candy!” from her children.

— Staff Writer Alan Bennett can be contacted at 282-1535, ext. 329 or abennett@journaltribune.com.

 

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