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Trick or Treat on the Trail back with candy, petting zoo, games
Armando Luna, 8, and Jazlynn Luna, 8, race to get candy as Ayanna Rico, 6, and Joshua Luna, 7, tag along behind Saturday at the Gainesville Parks and Recreation’s Trick or Treat on the Trail at the Midtown Greenway in Gainesville. The four are all cousins who attended the event together. - photo by Erin O. Smith

For the little ones, Halloween is all about candy, candy, and more candy, but the Trick or Treat on the Trail is going to give those delicious sweet treats a run for their money.

More specifically, the rabbits, goats, and llamas might be stealing the show.

At the event, trick or treating will still be the most important activity, but it offers kids more than just a sugar overload. Along the 150,000 pieces of candy, they will have a petting zoo, face painting, temporary tattoos, games and bounce houses, so kids will have plenty of opportunities to use up their sugar rush fueled energy.

The best part is that everything is free.

This year is expected to be the biggest year yet, with 15 “houses” creatively decorated and sponsored by local businesses.

“It actually has the feel of going house to house because each of our sponsors has a little, painted 8-foot, plywood house front,” said Julie Butler, marketing manager for Gainesville Parks and Recreation.

Trick or Treat on the Trail is set for the Midtown Greenway, which is walking distance from the Gainesville Police Department, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. — while there is still plenty of sunlight.

“It is the safest way to trick or treat,” Butler said. “This has become the trick or treating event for a lot of the kids in our community who don’t have safe sidewalks in their neighborhoods, so it's become quite the community favorite.”

Costumed kids can gather their stashes of candy, play games and have fun without parental fears about sending their kids going door to door.

And people can do a little good amidst the candy hauls and adorable goats. The event encourages families to help with their food drive for the Georgia Mountain Food Bank, so make sure to bring canned food items.

The Oct 27 event has steadily grown in size each year and is expected to bring out thousands of kids this Halloween.

“It's the perfect opportunity for the community to come out and trick or treat in a safe place and for us to give back to our community and park system and really offer something that's special,” said Butler.  

Regional events