Square to get Halloween treatment later this month

Published 10:45 pm Monday, October 13, 2008

In a little more than two weeks, ghosts, goblins, princesses and pirates will converge upon the court square to get their share of the more than 500,000 pieces of candy purchased for the city’s ninth annual Halloween on the Square event.

Duke Smith, event coordinator for the department of leisure services, said this year’s festivities will be held on Thurs., Oct. 30, from 5:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m., even though Halloween is on Friday this year.

“We have a city ordinance that says we have to have Halloween on any other day but Friday since it conflicts with football,” Smith said. “Last year, we had it on Wednesday and I think we saw the biggest crowd ever.”

Smith estimated more than 8,000 people “trick or treated” on the court square and he hopes that this year’s crowd is just as large.

“We’ve got Keith Williams and Second Nature from Tuscaloosa coming back this year as the entertainment,” he said. “People may remember them. They were here year before last and were just great. People were disappointed that they didn’t come back last year.”

Smith said 30 merchants had booth space on the square last year. This year that number increased to nearly 40, he said.

“At last guess, there are 35-40 who’ve already agreed to participate,” he said. “I still have a few spaces left if anyone wants one, but they need to hurry.”

Smith said the city provides candy for any merchant who sets up a booth on the square and those merchants are eligible to enter a contest for best booth decoration.

“Like last year, we’ve ordered 500,000 pieces of candy from ADC — it’s so much they have to pull the truck around to each of the merchants so I can deliver it,” he said. “I’m looking forward to it.”

Smith said traffic to the square would be blocked beginning at 4:30 p.m.

“With that many people traveling on foot around the square, blocking traffic is the safe thing to do,” he said. “Just like the city providing the candy for the event. We want this night to be as safe as possible for the community.”

Smith said a concession stand will also be available for those who are seeking a little more sustenance than candy.

“We’ll have cokes, hot chocolate, pizza and even more candy for sale,” he said.

Anyone wishing to reserve booth space is asked to call Smith at 428-2104.