An annual Halloween tradition in downtown Gainesville couldn’t have come at a better time for some cash-strapped parents.
Hundreds of pint-sized super heroes, movie characters and witches piled into the downtown square with their parents for the 12th annual Trick-or-Treat on the Square, which is sponsored by Main Street Gainesville and many downtown businesses.
“I was looking for something to do with my daughter for Halloween, but money has been tight so we didn’t have a lot of options,” said Sara Brown, a Gainesville mother of 3-year-old Emma.
“Gas is starting to come down now, but my budget is still trying to recover from when it was over $4. We live within walking distance, so this is perfect because she gets to have fun and I don’t have to worry about paying for anything. Everyone is happy.”
During the event, children could ride the train around the square, have their faces painted and jump in a giant inflatable tiger. Area law-enforcement agents were also on hand to ensure that the tiny trick-or-treaters were safe as they enjoyed the festivities on the square.
“We’ve been coming for the past four years,” said Lynne Warren. “We live so far out and there is just this one hilly road out there, so this is really nice. I love what they do here.”
Warren’s sons, 5-year-old Randy who wore a Buzz Lightyear costume and 3-year-old Sam who came dressed as a tiger, took full advantage of the event.
Although Randy said he enjoyed riding the train and jumping in the inflatable playground, he enjoyed one thing more than everything else.
“The candy! That’s my favorite part,” he said.
Thanks to businesses surrounding the square, attendees were able to enjoy more treats than tricks at the event. Most business owners sat outside their shops passing out pounds of candy amid choruses of “trick or treat.”
“We pass out candy every year,” said Helen Loggins, owner of The Corner Cottage. “I enjoy seeing the kids all dressed up in their costumes.”