Thousands turn up downtown

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Lincoln Avenue was a zoo Sunday night -- literally. Monkeys, bears and elephants, or children disguised as such things, were walking the streets with buckets and bags to fill with candy.

Meanwhile, the snow was falling, and the temperature was dropping. Costumes were getting soggy from the slushy sidewalks, but no one seemed to notice.

"It's not cold," said Sherri Kinsel. "It was much worse last year." Kinsel was walking with her 7-year-old son, Kolton Kinsel, who was dressed as the Grim Reaper. He got his costume idea from the cartoon "Billy and Mandy" on the Cartoon Network.

"His makeup took two hours to put on," Sherri Kinsel said. The Kinsel family has lived in Steamboat for six years, and Kolton Kinsel has come to the Downtown Halloween Stroll for every one.

"I like that you don't have to go door to door," Sherri Kinsel said. The Kinsels were trick-or-treating with 22-month-old Emlee Reiter, who was dressed as Tigger of Winnie the Pooh.

A block away, 9-year-old Foster Martin had one of the scariest costumes on Lincoln Avenue. He was dressed as a Ringwraith from "The Lord of the Rings."

His face was covered with a black cloth, his robes were torn and flowing, and he carried a sword.

Martin had seen the "Lord of the Rings" movies but was interested in the Ringwraith character from reading the books.

He was trick-or-treating with his 3-year-old brother, Willie Martin, who was dressed as Bob the Builder.

Thousands of children and parents came out for the Downtown Halloween Stroll, and though U.S. Highway 40 was blocked from Third to 10th streets, the streets were empty.

It was the sidewalks that were cheek-to-cheek crowded, because that's where the candy was. Store and business owners stood in their doorways distributing thousands of lollipops and bite-size candy bars.

"I hear people complain about coming downtown instead of doing the neighborhood thing," said Willie and Foster's mom, Kim Martin, "but this is more fun. You get to see everyone, and it's safer."

"Every town should do this," said Willie and Foster's dad, Harry Martin.

To reach Autumn Phillips call 871-4210

or e-mail aphillips@steamboatpilot.com

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