Tricky weather jumbles quest for treats

Ariana van den Akker/The Herald
Viggo Brown of Huntingburg, 6, left, and his brother Silas, 4, enjoyed some of their candy during the Huntingburg United Methodist Church’s Trick or Trail on Thursday evening at League Stadium in Huntingburg City Park. The event was planned to be held outdoors but was moved into the stadium because of the weather. View a gallery of photos from the event here.

By SARAH FENTEM
Herald Staff Writer

HUNTINGBURG — It really was a dark and stormy night.

But while the scary story aphorism makes for a fun campfire tale, in reality the cold, rainy weather Thursday night thwarted the traditional practice of door-to-door trick-or-treating, leaving event organizers and families in the area scrambling for Halloween backup plans.

A popular alternative destination was Huntingburg United Methodist Church’s annual Trick or Trail, which in lieu of being held outside in City Park was moved to underneath the bleachers at League Stadium. According to the church’s Heath Wright, who was in charge of the event, organizers floated the idea of moving the event indoors on Tuesday, when weather forecasts began to look grim, and the executive decision was made Wednesday afternoon.

“The city has been awesome,” Wright said. “They have supported us in every way.”

Event volunteer Cathy Powell, the church’s evangelism chairwoman and self-described “Halloween nut,” was actually thrilled at the way the weather turned out.

“I’m going to be honest — we kind of like this setup,” she said. “We can come down the night before and set up everything, and it looks really spooky down here!” She gestured toward the dark hallway lined with booths of volunteers in costumes, lighted by atmospheric orange twinkle lights. “It looks kind of like the bottom of a castle.”

Ariana van den Akker/The Herald   
Haidyn Divine of Huntingburg, 5, smiled for a photo as John C. Smith of the Huntingburg Volunteer Fire Department waited to help him down from the truck at the fire department’s Halloween party at the First Street fire station Thursday. Children got to sit in the fire truck and could have pictures taken with firefighters.

Powell said she was so pleased with the indoor event she might consider lobbying to permanently hold the trail inside the stadium in future years.

Wright, while excited at the event’s success despite the gloomy weather, was a little wary of the potential change. “It’s the Trick or Trail, not the Trick or Stadium,” he said with a laugh. He mentioned the idea was posed to move the event to today, but “we didn’t want to compete with the Raiders.” The Southridge football team plays in sectional semifinals tonight.

After trick-or-treaters visited League Stadium, many of them migrated down First Street to the fire station, where volunteer firefighters passed out s’more fixings, collected canned goods to donate to the Shared Abundance food pantry and helped the kids pose for pictures inside a firetruck and with the station’s mascot, Buckets the dalmatian. While the event, like the trick-or-treat trail, was intended originally for the outdoors, it was easily moved inside the station.

“It’s good to get kids in here to see the equipment, have them sit in the truck and take pictures,” Fire Chief Scott Patberg said. “We’re definitely getting people from the trail.”

When asked if they had changed their plans because of the weather, most Halloween revelers said they had not planned to go door to door anyway.

Shannon Egg of Jasper was out with her husband, Matt, and daughters, Kyah, 2, and Haven, 3 months, She said she would rather attend public events for Halloween like the open houses put on by churches and charities than walk through neighborhoods.

“I think it being cold out, it’s better,” she said, bouncing Haven, who was wearing enormous elephant ears, up and down on her shoulder. “It’s hard to put coats over the costumes.”

There were, however, people who took to the streets despite the cold and wind.

“We just did what we were going to do,” said Rachel Kimmel of Huntingburg, who was out with her son, Aidan Stahl, and his grandfather Frank Kimmel. “We’re just excited we get to do it twice,” she said, referring to Huntingburg’s decision to add trick-or-treating hours today as well.

Contact Sarah Fentem at sfentem@dcherald.com.




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