Trick-or-treaters got a jumpstart on their candy collecting Saturday (Oct. 27) as families gathered for Van Buren’s annual Halloween on Main Street. Sponsored by the Old Town Merchants Association, the event saw hundreds of area children and adults sporting a wide-range of costumes and enjoying a cool evening of fall festivities.
Downtown merchants welcomed trick-or-treaters in front of their shops and handed out candy to visitors young and old. Many shop owners lined their store fronts with fall and Halloween decorations, and donned costumes as they passed out goodies.
Ninjas, princesses and monsters could be seen roaming throughout downtown Van Buren, as could families of superheroes and storybook characters. Many children sported animal costumes, including elephants, lions, raccoons and even sharks. Zombie costumes were a popular choice among the teens and adults.
In addition to filling their treat bags, children could take a ride on the train that ran up and down Main Street. Volunteers set up haunted play houses and games for children to enjoy, as well. Many also took their turn on the pony rides set up near the courthouse, while others looked for a good scare at the haunted sidewalk.
Midway down the strip, gymnasts from Didion Athletics entertained the crowd as they waited in line for candy. The athletes, all sporting neon leotards and other classic 80s attire, did flips, handsprings and other stunts one right after the other.
Children competed for the titles of “Cutest,” “Scariest,” and “Most Original Costume” in a costume contest hosted at the King Opera House. Prizes were awarded for each category in four age divisions, with an overall division winner being selected to compete for the grand prize, “Best Costume.”
Brush Brammer, 13, won for his robot suit in the “Most Original” contest. Ten year-old Benjamin Stormes, who dressed as a jester, won the “Scariest” contest. Little lamb Addyson Mathis, five months, won for the "Cutest" category. Each child won $2 for winning in their age division and $5 for their general category. Stormes, won an additional $10 for capturing the overall “Best Costume” title.