There were no tricks, just treats at the first Halloween Treat Streets event in downtown Hollister on Oct. 31.
“We knew this had the potential to be a large community event, but the number of people that came out exceeded our expectations,” Hollister Recreation Coordinator Nicholas Merolla said. “I think it’s great that so many people wanted to give the children of our community a safe and positive Halloween experience.”
Among those children was six-year-old Alexander Vargas dressed up as the Hulk. He said his favorite part was people and their costumes. Next year he said he plans to dress up as Iron Man, his favorite superhero, but opted for the Hulk this year because his mom said so.
Brian Vargas, Alex’s father, said it was a great event because it brought people together.
“It’s a safer trick or treat for the kids here. And it’s pretty awesome because then we get to know different businesses that I had no idea they were here.”
Vargas said he was referring to Ohana Shave Ice and La Catrina Mexican Grill. He added it’s a different experience walking around downtown, compared to driving through it.
Raul Ayon handmade a Luigi costume (think Super Mario Bros.) for his son, Xavier. The accessories included a vacuum with lights, flashlight and wheels. He said he put about 10 hours into the costume.
“You feel prouder when you see him, versus just buying it,” Ayon said.
Xavier, who dressed as Mario last year, said he picked Luigi because he enjoys playing the video game “Luigi’s Mansion.”
Xavier was accompanied by his brother Kael, who was dressed as the grim reaper.
Somewhat surprised by the large attendance, coordinator Merolla said Hollister Recreation passed out 400 trick or treat bags in the first 20 minutes.
About 60 people participated in the different categories of the costume contest. The judges were Hollister Councilman Jim Gillio, San Benito County Supervisor Mark Medina, Mechelle Leonard and Karina Hernandez.
The costume contest winners have yet to be announced, but the gift shop Johnnie’s Girl won the best decorated business contest. Merolla said the business was decorated with scenes from The Wizard of Oz and its staff also dressed up as characters from the movie.
“They truly embodied our vision of the downtown businesses’ role for this event," Merolla said.
Treat Street was a success, Merolla said. There were 48 local businesses passing out candy on the streets. There were also several activities, including a haunted house in the Veterans Memorial Building organized by the American Legion Post 69, Post 69 Auxiliary and the American Legion Riders.
“Everyone truly came together to create a safe and fun event,” Merolla said. “We are so appreciative of all the help and support that we received.”
Sponsors included Ohana Shave Ice, Mark Medina Supervisor Dist. 1, V.F.W., Baler Bingo, Casa De Fruta, Kiwanis Club, Lighthouse 55 Bakery, Brent Redmond Transportation, Hollister Super, Hazel Hawkins Hospital, and San Benito Bene donated the fall harvest basket.
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