By Danielle McCarthy Everett
Downtown Belton business owners and trick-or-treaters alike were amazed by the large crowds that turned out for Downtown Belton’s Candy Trail on Saturday. Several shop owners and store managers agreed the crowds at this year’s event far surpassed those in previous years. Jessica Davenport, co-manager at My Giving Tree, estimated there were more than 1,000 candy trailblazers collecting treats at the 20 participating businesses. This year’s event drew not only members of the Belton community, but people from surrounding communities as well.
“We just had some people from the Austin area actually come up here,” said Davenport. “They heard about it last year, so that was pretty neat.”
Lines spanned multiple blocks on both East Street and Central Avenue and were full of hundreds of kids dressed up for Halloween. While the lines were long, it didn’t deter families from having fun as they followed their maps to find free treats.
“It’s awesome, it’s wonderful,” said Belton resident Jean Scott while waiting outside a shop for her 7-year-old grandson who was dressed as a Power Ranger. “It’s really fun. I can’t believe how many people have shown up.”
Meantime, Temple resident Stephen McCauley waited with his two sons in a line that was several hundred feet long, but the trio did not mind. It was their first time coming out for the event.
“It’s long lines, but it’s good,” McCauley said. “This is pretty awesome, actually. I’ve got to say.”
Across the street, Roxane McWha, co-owner of McWha Book Store, frantically tried to keep up with the demand for candy. She got in the Halloween spirit herself and donned a whimsical hat topped with a fake spider.
“I’m running out (of candy) already, I’ll have to go back for a refill,” McWha said with a laugh. “I guess the word spread from last year. We’re really happy. We’re happy everybody came out. This is so great.”
While the crowds increased in number this year, so did the number of businesses participating.
“I think they saw it was a big hit last year and it’s getting bigger and bigger,” said Davenport while handing out candy to a crowd gathered inside My Giving Tree. “Who knows what next year is going to be.”
On Monday, Belton Public Information Officer Paul Romer spoke of the event’s success.
“That kind of community spirit is not unusual for Belton,” said Romer. “It’s what draws people here and makes them love it.”