Costumed kids hit downtown for candy

Sponge Bob was a big hit at last year's Downtown Halloween Stroll. This year, it was his dimwitted sidekick Patrick cruising Lincoln Avenue for candy.

Patrick was among the more creative characters at the stroll, sponsored by the Downtown Business Association. But he had plenty of cartoon company. Batman was there. So was Spider-man. A family of characters from Alice in Wonderland made the scene, as did the Incredible Hulk.

Jason of "Friday the 13th" fame worked the stores both masked and sans mask. A pair of Legos bumped down the sidewalks. A pair of sumo wrestlers bumped bellies between pleading for treats.

There were tricks, too, at least at Colorado Group Realty, where co-workers used a Whoopee cushion and a smoke machine to hound Cindy Ptach as she dished treats to children.

Of course, there were hundreds of clowns and princesses, cowboys and cowgirls, witches, grim reapers and ghosts.

Scariest of all may have been the election candidates, who worked Lincoln passing out leaflets instead of candy.

Twelve-year-old Jessica Eagerton, dressed as a witch, said the chick magnet had the best costume. The chick magnet was dressed in black and had tiny yellow chicks attached to his outfit. "He was cool," Eagerton said. "I think it was the best."

Lexi Pappas, also dressed as a witch, cast her vote for the girl who came as a birthday party table. The costume featured a tabletop complete with plates, cups, utensils and tablecloth and a hole cut in the middle for the girl's head.

Pappas, 12, said she has been doing the Downtown Halloween Stroll for about eight years. She said it was one of the most anticipated events of the year.

"I love seeing all my friends and all the costumes," said Charlotte Letson, an 11-year-old dressed as Cinderella. "It's awesome."

Pappas, Letson and Eagerton agreed on their favorite stops on the stroll -- The Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, Johnny B. Good's and First National Bank.

"You always get stuff like Pixie Sticks, Pez and caramel apples at the Chocolate Factory," Pappas said. "Johnny B. Good's has french fries, and the bank always gives out pencils with the candy. We like that."

At Winona's, owners Scott and Kristy Fox passed out candy while dressed as a sumo wrestler and a mermaid. The Foxes have been participating in the Downtown Stroll for 10 years and have refined the art of candy selection, thanks to the help of their 10-year-old twin daughters.

"We have found that chocolate is the most desirable," said Kristy Fox, as she passed out Snickers. "We buy more than 3,000 pieces, and we have never run out. We usually end up helping out our neighbor."

For the most part, the weather cooperated. When the stroll began at 5 p.m., the thermometer at Wells Fargo Bank read 38 degrees. As darkness fell, temperatures quickly fell below freezing, but no snow fell.

"The cold doesn't bother us. It's invigorating," Kristy Fox said. "We live for this. It's all about the kids and the fun."

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