There comes a time in life when it starts feeling silly to dress up and go out trick-or-treating on Halloween night.
It’s a good thing for 14-year-old Russell Derting, that time is still eons away.
The way Derting sees it, he’s got a good three or four more years until he needs to think about leaving the pillow case at home.
That’s why he dressed up in San Francisco 49ers garb and joined four other Oak Harbor High School freshmen downtown and held his hand out for candy.
If only he could have held his temper.
“Stop trying to get my candy,” he yelled to his nephew, who was bent on trying to grab the pillow case from under his feet. “That’s not funny!”
There were lots of smiles in downtown Oak Harbor Thursday night. A crowd estimated at more than 1,000 showed up for the traditional “No Tricks, Safe Treats” event put on by Downtown Merchants Association and sponsored by Island Thrift. Kids lined Pioneer Way as they patiently waited for candy at participating businesses.
As it turned out, most businesses did take part, greeting kids with a smile and a treat.
Island Thrift provided a grant of $3,000 to purchase candy and distribute among merchants, which got four-to-six large bags apiece. Many businesses bought additional candy in anticipation of the large crowd on what turned out to be a dry and unseasonable warm autumn evening with a pink sunset and eerie dark clouds.
Margaret Livermore, president of the downtown merchants, said she and Paint Your World owner Ron Apgar each brought two carloads full of candy back from the Burlington Costco to distribute to merchants.
Livermore said she went through all six of her bags at Garry Oak Gallery and said lines of kids seemed longer than she’d seen in the past.
“This year, there was a line to get out of the mall (at Harborside Village) to go down the street to the next place. It’s never been that way before,” she said.
Although the area between City Beach Street and Midway Boulevard was closed off to traffic, business participation stretched to the Ace Hardware Store, where the Whidbey Cruzers vintage car club set up several scary displays.
Daryl and Amy Huwa of Oak Harbor brought their two sons, Markus and Preston, who dressed as Ninja Turtles. They didn’t see the need to go anywhere else after the downtown event.
“They’re usually so tired,” Amy Huwa said.
Derting still had plenty of energy as he walked and surveyed the offerings along with fellow freshmen Justin Powers and Katelyn Jandreau.
They’d been coming to downtown on Halloween night for years and didn’t see that trend ending any time soon.
“My brother was 18 and he was still trick-or-treating,” Jandreau said.