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Third Street merchants in San Juan Bautista on Oct. 31 found themselves invaded by a host of skeletons, princesses, superheroes, ghostbusters, dinosaurs, sharks, three bald guys with briefcases, and the Cat in the Hat, among other otherworldly visitors—all looking for candy.
Afterschool trick or treating on Halloween has been a San Juan School tradition for as long as people can remember, and this year was made even more special by the addition of some special guests: around 50 students from the Aromas School who were brought in to share in the event.
“We are celebrating Halloween with our children,” said San Juan School teacher Cristal González Avila. “We are going around and asking for treats and also spreading the love and the good spirit of being neighbors with the students of Aromas.”
The last-minute plan to include the students came about following the closure of their school due to the Aromas fire and subsequent cancellation of the Halloween celebration planned for them.
“We invited them to come to San Juan in the spirit of community,” said San Juan School Principal Ethan Stocks, who came dressed as a ghostbuster. “We are a unified district, and we want them to feel welcome here. We know that they’re having a pretty rough day over there, and we wanted to do what we could to help them.”
Aromas student Sadie Clayton said the event was “pretty fun,” and she was happy to be in San Juan taking part in it.
“I was mostly freaked out in the morning because we could see the fire from where we live,” she said. “It was really clear, and it seemed closer than it really was. I did not think anything good was going to happen today, and here we are, and we get to walk around the whole place.
Sadie’s teacher, Sierra Taylor, said that all of the students were excited to be in San Juan that afternoon.
“Everyone was really looking forward to all our festivities at the school,” she said. “And they were very disappointed when they were canceled today. So it’s just been a really great and heartwarming opportunity for us to be here.”
Aromas-San Juan School District superintendent Barbara Dill-Varga said that she thought that including the Aromas students made a great event even more special.
“I have not lived in a town where the local businesses have turned out for the kids like this every year,” she said. “It’s a wonderful event, and I think it’s good for everyone. The kids are having fun, and there are adults here in lawn chairs enjoying the procession as it goes by. This is such a cool little town!”
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