An early start to Halloween

REED CITY — Little princesses, pirates, ghost and goblins descended on Westerburg Park Saturday seeking treats at Halloween in the Park.

The annual event is the creation of Reed City residents Kathy Yost and Marie Thompson. The free event features popular characters giving the little ones candy, toys, snacks, bookmarks and other items at the 20 stations set up around the park.

This year’s event again featured many storybook characters like Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Cruella De Vil, Captain Hook, Beast and other Disney characters to add to the children’s delight without the screams, scares and gore associated with the holiday.

“We are fortunate that this has grown every year and we get some great support and community sponsorship,” Thompson said. “The event was created to offer fright-free and safe trick-or-treating.”

She added that they hold Halloween in the Park early in the season in hopes of getting nice weather.

“You never know by the end of October how cold it is going to be,” Thompson said.

This is the ninth year Yost and Thompson have had the event. The event started at 1 p.m. and the park was full of children gathering the many treats offered to them. This year with the sun shining and children smiling event organizers were pleased with the turnout.

“The children are having so much fun,” Yost said. “Their costumes this year are so creative.”

The growth of Halloween in the Park is because parents and the children enjoy it so much, Yost added.

“It is cute because so many of them are just so excited to see characters like Tinkerbell or Mickey in person. They just smile and stare and want their pictures taken with them,” Yost said.

For Scott Maaser and his wife Stacey, bringing their children Ruby, 4, and Elliot, 2, out to the event is convenient and fun for their entire family.

“It is so close to home and a great time for the family,” Maaser said. “We get to spend a few hours together in the park and it’s like a dress rehearsal before Halloween.”

Heidi Montague, of Hersey, brought her daughters Kayla, 6, and Payton, 3, to the park because the children could have fun without being in the dark.

“There are a lot of stations with different costumes our girls can see and they have fun getting their goodies from the different characters,” she said.