Trick or Treating on Main returns to downtown Mitchell
Event continues to be a hit for businesses, families
On any other pleasant autumn afternoon in downtown Mitchell, the streets are usually filled with shoppers strolling down Main Street, patronizing the dozens of businesses that line the street while enjoying the last bastion of warm weather before winter arrives in full force.
On Saturday, however, the street was overrun by hundreds of ghosts, ghouls, witches, ninja turtles, superheroes and at least one family of giant roaming lizards.
It was all part of Trick or Treating on Main, an event sponsored by Mitchell Main Street & Beyond that brings members of the business community together with families looking for something different in their Halloween routine. Businesses offer candy to the costumed kids while simultaneously promoting their businesses and products.
Hundreds of colorfully clad youngsters, along with some adults and even a handful of pets in costume, made their way up and down both sides of the street Saturday afternoon, going through the age-old routine of showing off their costume while also adding to their stockpile of candy.
The mild weather and the option to continue the Halloween tradition in a year where COVID-19 has many people practicing social distancing provided those at the event with an option to have a little fun on the holiday.
“I brought my son down here to enjoy the festivities on Main Street, and we’re enjoying it,” said Jim Downing, who was accompanying his son Gabriel, 8, through a tour of participating businesses. “It’s awesome, going door to door and seeing all the new stuff in the stores. It’s great.”
Downing, of Artesian, said they usually go door to door in their neighborhood for trick-or-treating, but this seemed like a better option this year.
“We usually go door to door and house to house, but I’d rather do this instead,” Downing said.
Nikki Weber, of Mitchell, was with her kids, Brecklynn and Jayce Gukeisen, and their dad, Derrick Gukeisen. The 2-year-old and 4-year-old were enjoying the time out, and Weber was glad they had a chance to take part in Halloween.
“We’re not even halfway through yet,” Weber said. “We normally don’t do the Main Street (event), we just do the evening trick or treating, but since with COVID-19 this year, we didn’t think many people were doing the household trick or treating, so we’re just kind of doing these.”
Halloween is a fun holiday for adults and kids alike, and Weber said she was glad there was an event like Trick or Treating on Main.
“I was really going to be upset if they canceled Halloween,” Weber laughed.
Robin Weins, owner of Crazy About Cupcakes, spent much of the event holding her front door open for curious kids and customers. She chatted with participants as they passed by, with many stopping to wait for a chance to enter the shop.
She said the event this year appeared to be a success, if her candy count was anything to go by.
“I had 3,000 pieces of candy, and I’m about out,” Weins said about halfway through the scheduled time for the event.
At least 13 downtown businesses were participating in the event, with many distributing candy outside their stores. Along with the Main Street businesses, a trunk-or-treat was held at the corner of Third and Main, where other retailers could gather and hand out candy from the trunks of their vehicles, another modern version of the traditional door-to-door trick or treating that has become more popular in recent years.
Keke Leiferman, owner of the Back 40 on Main Street, was stationed outside her establishment handing out candy dressed as Captain Jack Sparrow from the "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies. She usually takes part in the Trick or Treating on Main, but she planned a few extra activities this year on the assumption that it would see a larger crowd than usual.
“We have a cookie decorating bar and all-you-can-eat hot dogs and a photographer taking professional shots,” Leiferman said in between tending to candy customers. “I do it every year, but this year I added to it a lot. I thought people are kind of ready to get out, and you can be outside and safe and still be safe, so I thought let’s do it.”
She said it was nice that the kids wouldn’t miss out on the Halloween tradition this year.
“It’s fun. People can get out and still social distance, and the kids get to wear their getups. It’s a big deal when you’re a little kid,” Leiferman said.
Tammy Parks, with Mitchell Life Church, was with a group handing out candy on the corner of Fifth and Main. They saw a steady stream of kids and parents taking in the nice weather and the festive event, even if they decided to change a little about how they go about it this year.
“Since they have done the Halloween candy giveaway downtown, we’ve taken part in it. We usually have them come inside and we do activities and have other snacks, but that’s not happening this year,” Parks said.
But it wasn’t going to stop them from having fun, even if a few regular activities weren’t happening this year.
“We give away a lot of candy every year. As long as we’re here, we’ll be part of the community events downtown,” Parks said.
That should be good news for future trick or treaters. With hundreds of festive, high-spirited participants looking for a chance to show off their costumes, grab a little candy and even visit local businesses they may have never visited before, the event appears to be an event that people will continue to look forward to.
Jennifer Moser was touring downtown with her daughter, Seasons. She watched as her 3-year-old tentatively approached Beth Schneider, who was dressed as the princess Belle from "Beauty and Beast" in front of Einstein’s Costume & Prop Rental. Smiles and candy were exchanged before the pair, along with Jennifer’s mother, Sharon Kenneke, continued down the street to explore.
The recent transplants to town were thrilled with the event.
“We actually haven’t lived in Mitchell very long. We’ve only been here since February, and we love it, absolutely love it,” Jennifer said.
Kenneke, who still lives in Minnesota, said she was highly impressed.
“This is great what the town does for Halloween here. This is great. A neighbor told us about three events that were happening today, and this was one of them, so she sent us the article and that’s how we knew about it,” Kenneke said.