Optimist club takes charge of Merchant Trick or Treat

By Emily Leayman

Brook Schurra, Nicole Amenheuser, and Nova Sienkiewicz put on a children’s game at the Merchants Trick or Treat. Photo by Emily Leayman

Brook Schurra, Nicole Amenheuser, and Nova Sienkiewicz put on a children’s game at the Merchants Trick or Treat.
Photo by Emily Leayman

For the two-hour-long Kutztown Main Street Trick or Treat that occurs every late October, planning starts in July.

The event includes the different businesses and organizations of Kutztown handing out candy and holding various Halloween activities for families. A large section of Main Street, from College Boulevard to Constitution Boulevard, is closed to traffic when the event occurs.

The KU Optimist Club has been involved in the event for over 12 years, however this is the first year that it took the lead, according to Ken Remick, a member and former president of the club.

In years past, the Kutztown Community Partnership (KCP) and the borough mainly planned the annual Halloween affair.

The planning process starts with obtaining permits from the borough and state for closing the route on Main Street. Closer to the event, the planning members solicit the downtown merchants by asking permission to hang up posters. The Optimist Club has been working with Main Street Manager Nancy Brooks of KCP to secure permits, since the process is easier going through the municipality.

They also ask businesses to donate gift cards or money for the costume contest, which has categories for adults, children and pets.

The budget for this event is around $1,000 to $1,500. Remick said that this event is not one of its biggest, like the Easter egg hunt in the spring. Aside from donations for the costume contest, the event only has promotional costs, which the Optimist Club funds itself.

Borough police and ambulance services participate too. While some policeman ride bikes or walk around, and the ambulance corps sets up on the side streets, they also offer candy to the trick-or-treaters.

According to Remick, the university gets involved when individual organizations like fraternities and sororities contact KCP. He estimates that 40 groups from the university participated at this year’s Trick or Treat on Oct. 29.

He encourages the student organizations to show where they are from and what they do through items such as sorority letters.

“It’s nice if they represent themselves and the organization they belong to. [They] have something special to support,” said Remick.

This year featured a different setup with university organizations being placed from College Boulevard to Baldy Street. According to Jessica Burns, a graduate assistant in the Office of Student Involvement, the event attracts about 2,000 people.

Categories: News

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