Morris resident Brynn Hofreiter's Halloween costume inspired compliments and some confusion as she stood on the lawn of the Grundy County Courthouse Thursday afternoon.
The eight-year-old was one of the dozens of children who took part in the Morris Lions Club's annual costume contest, which was held before downtown trick-or-treating in downtown shops.
With colorful loofahs tied to her flipflops and in her pigtails and a yellow ducky pool inflatable with white balloons around her waist, Hofreiter dressed up as 'Taking a bath.'
Brynn and her grandmother, Merry, said the costume, which put her in first place in her age group, was the source of many comments.
"They love it," Brynn said.
"And they say, 'What are you?'" Merry said.
Merry said they got the idea for the costume from Brynn's aunt, who found it online.
"We thought this is easy, simple, and cute," she said.
Brynn was joined by a wide variety of other children dressed in costumes including butterflies, super heroes, first responders and princesses.
Eleven-year-old Danny Analytis, of Shorewood, said that the SWAT officer costume that helped him snag the grand prize for his age this year was one he had tried two years ago, but didn't place. He was dressed head-to-toe in black, with a vest equipped with ammunition, dog tags around his neck and a gas mask covering his face.
Analytis said he was excited to win.
"I felt great," he said.
It wasn't his first year to win — he actually won his category last year for his headless horseman contest, he said.
His mother, Eileen Analytis, said both the costume contest and downtown trick-or-treating are Halloween staples.
"We love it. We look forward to it," she said. "It's such a great thing Morris does for the kids. It's nice that the local businesses do this for the kids."
Lions Club member Irene H. Leopold said the threat of rain seemed to lower participation, but they were able to squeeze it in before the rain began.
She said the costumes were creative, and joked that some of the parents must have been picking up ideas on Pinterest, a website that allows users to share everything from crafts to recipes.
"Oh my gosh, the costumes were phenomenal," she said.
Fellow club members Judy Miller and Joanne Johnson agreed.
"They get better and better each year," Johnson said.
"It's always so cool because you see one and then you see an even better one," she said.
Leopold said the club was grateful for the support of the community, as well as the county for allowing them to use the courthouse lawn, as well as the volunteers who helped out. She said she hoped for sunnier skies next year.
"We hope next year we have a bigger turnout," she said.
After the contest, families headed straight for the shops, hoping to squeeze in some trick-or-treating before the rain, which started about 30 minutes into the two-hour window, but did not deter the groups from visiting downtown.
Judy Smith, assistant VP of marketing and new accounts for Grundy Bank, passed out treats to a clown, a dinosaur and a policeman from the doorway of the bank.
She said the night is always a fun one, and she enjoyed seeing the trick-or-treaters' outfits.
"They're fantastic," she said. "We always get some good costumes."
Smith said the group had been a good-natured one, too.
"They're very polite and say, 'Trick or treat,' and also say 'Thank you,'" she said. "We have some very good kids."
Grand prize — Bennet Sanders of Morris, Chicken
1st prize — Isaiah Baker of Morris, Hook
2nd prize — Owen Burla of Morris, Business Man
3rd prize — Karleigh Zink of Morris, Bumblebee
Grand prize — Xavier Gerber, Scuba Diver
1st prize — Easton Kempiak, Unicorn
2nd prize — Maxx Brown, Fireman
3rd prize — Payton Wallin, Lemon Meringue
Grand prize — Danielle Britt of Sheridan, Scarecrow in Basket
1st prize — Devin Shenberg of Morris, Bride of Frankenstein
2nd prize — Nathan Etavard of Morris, Mummy
3rd prize — Zak Kinzler of Morris, Mario
Grand prize — Lauren Mikula, Pumpkin Girl
1st prize — Byrnn Hofreiter, Taking a Bath
2nd prize — Jesse Breen, Voodoo Doll
3rd prize — Bailey Johnson, Stick Girl
Grand prize — Dawson Britt, Corn
1st prize — Tucker Tesdal, Diary of a Wimpy Kid 'Kid'
2nd prize — Sydney Safarcyk, Piece of Cake
3rd prize — Jenna Tessone, Clown
Grand prize — Danny Analytis of Shorewood, SWAT Officer
1st prize — Tailor Vuckovich and Sophie Romak, both of Morris, Thing 1 and Thing 2
2nd prize — Claire Gurgerty of Morris, Flower Child/1970s Girl
3rd prize — Ryann Kenney of Verona, Mummy
AGES 13 AND OVER
Grand prize — Josh Mikula, Prisoner
1st prize — Austin Neill, Scarecrow
2nd prize — Eva Hill
3rd prize — No winner