Double dipping: 'Safe' Halloween = twice the treats

You can't think of fall and not think about Halloween. I can remember planning my costume months before and bursting with excitement at the thought of the mounds of candy I would haul in.

One wild year, my adolescent friends and I smashed pumpkins, toilet-papered trees, and threw eggs at cars. Then, suddenly, I was too old for it all.

So Saturday, October 25, when Charlottesville's Recreation and Leisure Services hosted the Downtown Safe Halloween Festival, was a nostalgic event for me. The all-daylight affair provided a safe alternative to heading out on Halloween night.

While shop owners and organizers handed out candy, kids one to twelve got to enjoy big air-filled slides and bouncy rooms. City police were on hand to fingerprint kids for their safety. [For a view on fear-mongering, see page 63.–editor.]

At 1:30, a costume contest in the amphitheater let the kids strut their stuff. In addition to generic witches and vampires, some kids (or their parents) got creative with Greek gods, dragons, and basketball heads.

In a way, the Downtown Safe Halloween Festival is like opening your presents a week before Christmas. While it was great to see swarms of little kids in cute costumes, it just didn't have the same feeling or excitement as the actual night.

If I were still a kid, I'd just see it as way to get free candy twice.

Have a safe and happy Halloween.

John (Poseidon) Eichenbergen waxes godly with sons Kevin (Zeus) and Will (Hermes).

Emily Allan was the day's sweetest.

The fire department's safe hanging

Bouncing away in the monster truck

Costume contestants parade in the amphitheater

Basketball Head leads the parade