It was only 35 degrees and pockets of snow still dotted Main Street in downtown Hays. But that didn’t stop hordes of creepy and cute Halloween creatures from going door to door in search of candy.
More than 60 downtown businesses participated in the annual Trick-or-Treat on The Bricks event Tuesday afternoon. The event, sponsored by The Hays Daily News, is hosted during daylight hours to provide a safe option for local families.
“I just think it’s a good way for downtown to draw in more people to these small businesses,” said Tori Hatzenbuehler, an employee at Be Made, 805 Main, who was busily handing out candy. “And at the same time, the children can have fun.”
Snow started to fall earlier Tuesday, briefly blanketing the ground in a thin layer of white. But the trace of winter wasn’t enough to dampen holiday spirits.
Jessa Taylor, 1, was among the youngest trick-or-treaters in downtown Hays. She was bundled up in her stroller, dressed as a fuzzy orange Jack-o’-lantern. Her mother, Jennifer Taylor of Hays, said the family wasn’t going to let a little cold halt the baby’s first Halloween experience.
“Our costume is warm,” Jennifer Taylor said. “We picked a warm one.”
The family received a warm welcome — and welcomed the warmth — inside Northwestern Office Supplies, 800 Main. Sylvia Keller, 10, was dressed as a scarecrow and handing out candy with a smile. Her parents own the business, and she said she enjoys helping out.
“It’s fun,” Keller said.
Participating businesses stretched from the Hays fire station to The Hays Daily News on opposite ends of Main Street in the downtown business district. While it made for a brisk walk, families were able to warm up inside several businesses along the way, and children’s treat bags quickly filled up.
The Hays Fire Department offered extended hours for young visitors, but ran out of candy by 9 p.m. after meeting approximately 270 children. Firefighters were joined by Ellis County EMS staff members, according to a social media post on the fire department’s official account.