Steamboat Springs The costumed trick-or-treaters who were on hand for the annual Downtown Halloween Stroll were dressed, as, well, just about anything you could imagine.
There were movie characters and classic spooky favorites including vampires, witches and zombies. Even the statue of Carl Howelsen at Seventh Street and Lincoln Avenue was in costume, with eye patch and cape.
Children were dressed up and so were adults. Families dressed as part of group themes And some pets even wore costumes — a dachshund was dressed as a hot dog.
“It’s a show,” said Tracy Barnett, manager of Mainstreet Steamboat Springs, the group that promotes the city’s downtown business district. “People go all out.”
That was true for residents Chad and Tammy Hazlett, who were dressed as munchkins from Munchkinland in the Wizard of Oz, while 4-year-old Bridget was Dorothy. Chad Hazlett said they never miss a Downtown Halloween Stroll.
“It’s probably Steamboat’s favorite family event,” he said. “It probably gets the largest turnout of any event. It’s great. It’s safe. The kids love it.
Barnett said the Downtown Halloween Stroll was created about 30 years ago to encourage safe trick-or-treating. She cited the closure of Lincoln Avenue from Fifth to 11th streets and the close proximity of the businesses as advantages.
And Barnett said most downtown businesses participate, which includes buying their own candy. She said the businesses are supposed to have 2,000 pieces of candy, enough for the two-hour stroll.
“These kids make out like bandits,” she said.
Not all downtown merchants handed out candy. Johnny B. Good's Diner has become known for something else.
“We would run out of candy, so we started handing out fries,” said owner Kathy Diemer, who estimated the restaurant’s Halloween tradition started about eight years ago. “The kids would ask, ‘Are you out of candy yet?’ They would wait around until we ran out so they could get fries. So we started doing just fries.”
Although most costumed children cited candy as the reason they love Halloween, it wasn’t the only reason.
“Seeing everyone dressed up and seeing everyone happy,” said Mariam Worster, 9, who was wearing a dead prom queen costume.
In addition to handing out candy, a couple of downtown merchants turned their businesses into haunted houses, including The Shack Cafe and Colorado Group Realty.
Realtor Shelley Stanford, who helped start the haunted house about five years ago, said it gets bigger and better every year. She said it’s fairly tame for the younger children early in the Downtown Halloween Stroll, but it gets a little scarier for the older children after dark.
Stanford said it’s become something of a company tradition, in which everyone helps out.
“It’s so fun,” she said. “The kids are having such a good time. That’s the important thing.”