Around Town

Participation still needed for trick or treat events

Participants in a past Rag Shag Parade walk by the judges’ table in hopes of earning a prize. (Photo by Carl E. Hartdegen)

WESTFIELD-From trick or treating events to a rag shag parade, city businesses and organizations are gearing up to ensure that children have a fun and safe experience for Halloween.

Now in its 26th year, the Mayor’s office and the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Westfield kick off the Halloween celebrations with the annual Downtown Trick or Treating Night, beginning at 4 p.m. on Oct 25.

“I have appreciated the downtown business involvement in Trick or Treat Night since the Boys and Girls Club made it happen,” said Mayor Brian P. Sullivan. “The community, especially the area children, are so excited and it is very special that the businesses participate. It continues to grow every year.”

Sullivan has extended an invitation to downtown merchants to participate by hosting trick-or-treaters at their businesses. Businesses interested in participating are asked to contact Lerryn Godden at the Boys and Girls Club via email to [email protected]. Participating merchants will receive a sign titled “Trick or Treaters Welcome Here” to attract children in costume with their parents to businesses on Elm Street and Main Street.

Among the locations welcoming families will be the Westfield Fire Department at 34 Broad St.

“We will have a truck in the parking lot for the kids to look at,” said Andrew Hart, deputy chief, Westfield Fire Department. 

Hart added that because the fire department is still responding to calls as needed, the plan is to distribute candy as long as children stop by. Additionally, firefighters will be available to answer questions about the fire truck from visitors.

Dustin Cote and Kevin Gebo, owners of Hutghi’s at The Nook, 8 Franklin St., also were one of the first businesses to commit to the community event.

“We wanted to participate for two specific reasons – it is a great opportunity to bring parents into our restaurant to see what we’re doing at the new Nook, and we loved trick or treating as kids,” said Cote.

“We’re just big kids ourselves,” added Gebo.

Pastor Merle Beal of the Community Church of Westfield, 170 Elm St., noted church members enjoy being a part of community gatherings.

“This will be our second year participating in the downtown event,” said Beal. “It’s fun to see kids all dressed up. Also, we want to be a part of the community and contribute to it.”

On the north side of the city, the All-Stars Dance Center and Westfield Funeral Home and Cremation will once again host its popular Halloween trunk or treat extravaganza on Oct. 27 from 1 – 3 p.m. with music and sounds provided by R.I.P. Productions and Entertainment.

“We plan to have a graveyard on the front lawn as well as dry ice for a fog effect,” said Pamela Burl, funeral director and owner of the Westfield Funeral Home at 4 Princeton St. “This is our fourth year and it is a huge family event.”

Burl, who is working in concert with her friend, Kim Starsiak, owner of All-Stars Dance Center, said plans this year include two bike raffles.

“We just love seeing families come together and have a great time during this event,” said Starsiak. “We are averaging close to 400 kids during the whole time period.”

Starsiak added that entertainment will also include All-Star dancers performing a pop up flash mob.

Individuals, businesses and organizations wishing to have a colorfully decorated car full of goodies for children to enjoy at the trunk or treat event can contact Starsiak at (413) 572-1122 for more details. 

“Participants are asked to pay $10 a car and provide their own candy,” said Starsiak. “All of the money raised goes back to supporting the raffles we have.”

For children who love being in a parade – especially when dressed in costume – the annual Westfield Lodge of Elks Rag Shag is slated Oct. 26, stepping off at noon from the lodge at 56 Franklin St. After traversing the downtown streets, participants will return to the lodge for candies and treats as well as a costume contest for kids in several age categories. One boy and one girl will win a bicycle as part of the festivities.

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