The Loveland Museum has canceled its Halloween Family Fun Festival this year, but some downtown businesses say that won’t stop them from giving out candy to young trick-or-treaters the Saturday before Halloween.
“You just can’t turn something like this off. It just doesn’t work that way,” said Nick Callaway, owner of Loveland Aleworks at 118 W. Fourth St.
Each year, children trick-or-treat at downtown businesses, primarily along Fourth Street, and for the past 17 years, many families have participated in the costume contest and other events that the museum has organized on Fifth Street south of the museum.
Callaway launched a grassroots trick-or-treat effort of sorts Monday when he posted to Loveland Aleworks’ Facebook page and sent out a press release announcing that in light of the city’s cancellation, his business would pick up the torch.
“We try not to stir the pot too much, but this time, we’re going to jump right in there,” Callaway said Tuesday. “We’ve already gone around to most of the businesses downtown. … We’re throwing some posters together. The initial outpouring of support from everybody downtown is overwhelming.”
This year’s Trick-or-Treat Street will take place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 26, Callaway said, when children will be able to trick-or-treat at participating businesses.
Callaway said the event is too much fun to cancel.
“It’s been huge for Aleworks,” he said. “We literally have thousands and thousands of people who come downtown with their kids to trick-or-treat. … Every year we have to go back and buy more candy for the kids.”
Loveland Aleworks also gives out hundreds of 4-ounce samples of a couple of its dark beers for adults to drink on the patio, he said.
Last week, the Loveland Museum posted on its website that the city and its downtown partners had decided to “take a step back, assess our goals and then determine the future direction of this event.”
Jenni Dobson, curator of education at the museum, said she got her first email from a disappointed resident on Friday.
“The community isn’t ready to let it go, from some of the feedback we’ve been getting,” she said, estimating that 2,500 to 3,000 people have participated in recent years. “We do get great turnout. It was a really hard decision, honestly.
“We’ve been doing this for 17 years, and I always pass out all the posters for the event myself,” Dobson said. “I would get a handful of really excited (business owners) and a handful of groans every year.”
The apparently mixed emotions of downtown business owners were one reason for the pause in the event, according to Susan Ison, cultural services director for the city. But the main reason was safety, she said.
“We’ve had people hit by cars in our block in the last couple of months. Traffic is increasing, and the crowds are increasing,” Ison said. “We’re pretty darned concerned about having that many kids downtown.”
Dobson said a child attending the museum’s event was hit by a car 10 or 12 years ago, but she couldn’t recall other accidents involving museum-sponsored events.
Ison and Dobson said the city started talking with the Loveland Downtown Partnership this summer about the wisdom of continuing the museum’s event, and the LDP staff did some polling of downtown merchants.
“We had a bunch that said no, it’s time to take a step back and re-evaluate the goals,” said Sean Hawkins, executive director of the Loveland Downtown Partnership and Downtown Development Authority. Hawkins added that the Family Fun Festival part of the day always has been a city event, and the downtown trick-or-treating was more loosely organized by local businesses.
Hawkins, who has been on vacation, said when he returns to Loveland this week, he will get in touch with the downtown businesses that still are excited about keeping at least the trick-or-treating going.
“There might be some role for us to play and help facilitate that,” he said.
Ison and Hawkins both said a revamped Family Fun Festival could be moved to the plaza at The Foundry, where there would be less automobile traffic.
“You can shut off Third, and the kids can run wild,” Hawkins said.
Loveland Aleworks’ Callaway said some parents won’t know that the event has been canceled, “so there’s still going to be a thousand kids show up downtown wanting to trick-or-treat.”
This year’s event will be the result of downtown businesspeople saying: “Hey, let’s show people what Loveland business owners can do without any kind of city support or public funding or anything,” he said.
“This is a couple of Facebook posts and people getting together and doing something,” he said.
In other Halloween news
Downtown Loveland’s Halloween events aren’t the only game in town. The following events also have been planned. Some are free, and some aren’t; check the links for more information.
• Harrington Arts Alliance’s Haaunted House of Horrors, Oct. 18-31, 315 E. Fourth St. http://www.harringtonartsalliance.org/haaunted-house/
• Creepy Walk in the Woods, scary event for older kids and adults at Savage Woods west of Loveland, several dates from Oct. 11 to 26. creepywalk.com/
• Loveland Zombie Crawl starting at dusk Oct. 19, beginning at Loveland Aleworks, 118 W. Fourth St., and continuing at other downtown bars and restaurants. lovelandpartnership.org/events?month=2019-10-01&view=month&id=3645&rcal=22
• Showing of “Young Frankenstein” at the Rialto Theater, 228 E. Fourth St., 7 p.m. Oct. 26. rialtoloveland.ticketforce.com/ordertickets.asp?p=1228
• Halloween Hullabaloo Street Festival sponsored by the Marketplace at Centerra, noon to 4 p.m. Oct. 26. Fall River Drive will be blocked off, with vendors under tents giving out candy to trick-or-treaters. Costume contest at 3 p.m. facebook.com/events/marketplace-at-centerra/halloween-hullabaloo-at-centerra/1416735215291643/
• Halloween on The Promenade events at The Promenade Shops at Centerra, noon to 3 p.m. Oct. 27 in front of Rock Bottom Brewery, 6025 Sky Pond Drive. Games, prizes, dog costume contest at 1 p.m., hayrides, pumpkin patch and more. facebook.com/events/520617388775810
• Some local churches also offer “trunk-or-treat” events; watch the Reporter-Herald calendars for details.