Halloween in the park offers non-scary trick-or-treat time

REED CITY — For little children, Halloween can feature frightening, gory costumes that leave them having a less than enjoyable holiday.

However, the annual Halloween in the Park is a free, family-friendly trick-or-treating experience that leaves the ghouls and goblins at home. This year, the event will take place from 1 to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 11, in Reed City's Westerburg Park. Families with children 10 years old and younger are welcome to attend.

Event organizer Kathy Yost said between 800 and 1,200 children from the surrounding area attend each year to enjoy an experience that is safe and free of the horrific side of Halloween. She and co-organizer Marie Thompson have been running the activity since it began.

"It's a huge event for the kids of the community," she said. "I just love it."

During the event, about 20 stations will be set up for children to visit and receive treats. Costumes from storybooks, cartoons and will be worn by volunteers. Yost said it thrills her to see the community support Halloween in the Park each year.

"I enjoy the love and expressions on kids' faces," Yost said. "They hug all the characters and line up all the way to the Moose Lodge across the road. I like to walk down the line and talk to them."

In addition to candy and costumes, members of the Reed City Police Department and the Osceola County Sheriff's Department will be on hand for fingerprinting and other activities.

For Yost and Thompson, this will be their last year organizing the event. The pair are moving on, hoping others will keep the event going in years to come.

"We will still participate and help, but we want some of the younger generation to step up and take over," Yost said. "I hope it doesn't end with us."