MORRIS – The hundreds of trick-or-treaters who turned out for the Morris Lions Club’s annual Halloween Costume Contest and Morris downtown’s Trick-or-Treat Night proved that Thursday’s rain did not dampen the Halloween spirit of local residents.
“This is nothing. It was so freezing cold one year we actually had to stand inside,” said Jane Kerr, co-owner of Apple Butter and Shugies. Kerr and her husband, Stu, have passed out candy for more than 13 years.
The festivities began at 4 p.m. Thursday with the costume contest at Eagles Hall. The room was packed with robots, minions, clowns and several other characters sporting creative, handmade costumes.
Four-year-old Xavier Gerber, dressed as Woodstock, was the only Charlie Brown character in the crowd.
“I had planned to make him a circus muscle man, but he absolutely insisted on being Woodstock,” said Brenda Gerber, Xavier’s mom.
First-, second-, third- and grand-prize winners were chosen from all seven age groups and awarded cash prizes. Morris Lions Club President Irene Leopold said the group judged on originality and creativity.
“We really like ones that are homemade. It shows they put in some time,” Leopold said.
After the contest, kids and their parents walked the streets of downtown Morris, collecting candy from local businesses.
“This is such a joy for us. It’s one of our favorite ways to give back,” said Donna Ramirez of Sweet Tooth candy shop.
The trick-or-treating ended at 7 p.m. or, for some, whenever the candy ran out. Kerr said her store usually passes out 1,500 pieces of candy in a night.
“We only give candy to people in costume, sorry,” said Kerr, turning away a costume-less high school student.
Kerr said the event is a favorite for Morris local businesses and usually brings out hundreds of costumed kids.
“It’s this,” said Ramirez, smiling and pointing at two Raggedy Ann dolls coming down the street.
“This is what it’s all about. We just love it.”