Downtown Aberdeen on Saturday saw an influx of children and their parents bombarding Downtown Aberdeen Association (DAA) staff and a number of downtown businesses in search of candy, popcorn, popcorn and fun photos.
DAA’s Bobbi McCracken had a big laugh during the two-way queue outside the group, which was stationed outside the future site of the Aberdeen History Museum. She was happy to see the sidewalks lined with costumed Harborites on both sides of Wishkah Street.
“When people say there’s nothing going on in Aberdeen, you should see it,” McCracken said. “It was crazy. We went through three examples of pop, mostly for parents. They can’t get enough popcorn. It smells so good.”
Bette Worth, also of the DAA, gave a similar review of Saturday’s trick-or-treat event.
“Aberdeen was buzzing with laughter and shouts of excitement,” Worth said.
The buttery, salted popcorn that the group distributed around 500-plus bags, according to McCracken, was courtesy of an old popcorn machine donated by McDermoth Elementary School.
According to Wil Russoul, director of the DAA, trick-or-treaters started showing up at their station at 11:20 a.m., even though it was supposed to start at noon. The line lasted until about 2 p.m
The band — including Worth, McCracken, Russoul and a few other DAA personnel — was just one stop away with fun treats. And then there was Rick Moyer, who photographed 198 people.
“That was really successful today,” Moyer said. “I am very pleased.”
One mother, Heidi Talbert, was dressed as a deer. Her two-year-old daughter Fawna was dressed as a blue bear. Talbert praised Spooktacular.
“It’s great,” Talbert said. “We are having a very good time, very busy.”
Talbert was a fan of Moyer’s free photography.
“I love photography,” Talbert said. “That will be good. We will have something to remember him by.”
Talbert was happy to see more events happening around Aberdeen.
“We went to The Loading Dock last week,” Talbert said. “That was a lot of fun. They have many more events in Aberdeen. I think it’s good that we all have something to do. And I know Y is doing something (Sunday.)”
Scammers visited many businesses that had a Waldo sign taped to their front doors. One of the company’s owners — Andy Bickar, owner and executive chef at Rediviva — said he was out for about two and a half hours. He said he distributed more than 1,200 candies.
“I gave double and triple (portions) to the kids with the best costumes, as well as some parents with a sweet tooth,” Bickar said. “A total of about $300 worth of candy.”
Bryce Romero, owner of The Tap Room, said his bar gave out nearly 1,500 pieces of candy from the edge of his outdoor seating.
“We went through four full bags of candy, almost 1,500 pieces,” Romero said. “I would say it was as lively as ever outside. It was also very lively in (the bar). Outside, Kimmy (Nebel) gave me sweets. She was there for two whole hours. There was no slowdown, just a full flow of kids. I occasionally checked outside.”
Lee Bacon, who owns The Side One — an urban green-moss building on the south corner of South K and Wishkah streets — said Spooktacular was another impressive DAA event. Bacon’s building was lined with skeletons inside the upstairs windows, plus jack-o’-lanterns and tombstones inside the downstairs windows. The building’s speakers also played fun Halloween music.
“My wife and I talked to hundreds of people and families dressed up to celebrate the day,” Bacon said. “A fun day was had by all.”
Bacon is happy that such events are growing in popularity.
“The atmosphere for the city center to become a place for socializing and connecting families grows stronger every year. DAA is an amazing organization and everyone wants to enrich our city with these kinds of opportunities. The really heartwarming story here is while the DAA sets the ‘thoughtfully planned stage’, the people, the families, the positive community support is why a day like Spooktacular is so memorable and so valued by people who are committed to Aberdeen and Aberdeen’s future .”
“I think it was a huge success,” Worth said. “I think the weather had a lot to do with the number of people who came out. … The city center was buzzing with the laughter and excitement of the children who were in the center of the city. The companies were very supportive and gave out candy and I think that had a lot to do with the number of people who joined.”
McCracken and Worth loved seeing the little kids as they came by.
“I love all the little guys, the babies that come in with makeup on,” McCracken said.
Worth agreed. McCracken singled out one guy in costume who stood out and brought sparkles to her eyes.
“This one kid had cardboard boxes for his arms and legs,” McCracken said. “He was a robot. He was amazing. Someone had to bring him candy because he couldn’t move his arms and legs.”
McCracken said it’s “nice” to see downtown happening. Worth called it “energy.”
“It’s two weekends in a row and there’s been a lot of energy downtown,” McCracken said. “With the Walk of the Undead and the Rotary Pub Crawl and then the Spooktacular, all three of these events probably attracted different segments of the population. But there is energy in the center.”
Worth had fun. She is happy to see others having fun.
“That’s our goal, to turn things around and get more activity here,” Worth said. “The more we can do, the better.”
Contact reporter Matthew N. Wells at [email protected].
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