Halloween Candy Collection For Main Street Residents
As thousands of children eagerly count down the days until Halloween so they can trick-or-treat on Main Street, the street's residents begin looking for candy sales with as much anticipation.
Jane Luongo has lived on Main Street for the last 21 years and has seen the number of children trick-or-treating on her road grow steadily. In her first year passing out candy on Main Street she had a mere 600 children come to her doorstep. Now, based on a system of counting each piece of candy ahead of time then handing out one candy per child, she estimates she gets close to 3,000 visitors each year.
Those headingÃÂ to Main Street for Halloween are not just from Newtown, but from all over the area. Some people have even come as far as New York, because Halloween on Main Street has such a fun reputation.
On average, Ms Luongo spends $300 a year on Halloween candy and calculates that even if she continues keeping a close eye on the candy sales at competing stores, she may only be able to get that number down closer to $200.
"It is a huge community event that does fall on the shoulders of the residents," she said. "It is very expensive for the houses... I know some residents just don't do Halloween on Main Street, because it has gotten to be too much."
Main Street resident Doug McDonald, who purchases about 120 bags of candy for his house, spends around $300 to $350 a year. He says the benefit of more candy means the longer houses can stay lit into the evening to accommodate the lategoing trick-or-treaters.
That is why Main Street residents have appreciated past donations from Newtown Parks & Recreation, Trinity Church, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, generous friends, and the occasional parent handing them a bag of candy on Halloween night after their child has trick-or-treated at their home.
"It is a gesture that is really nice," said Ms Luongo. "Every little bit helps."
Along with candy preparation, Ms Luongo also decorates her yard with carved pumpkins. She creates a miniaturized "pumpkin village," complete with features like little houses, tiny witches, and a bookstore.
"When the kids come up waiting for their turn to get the candy, they can get a good look and enjoy it all lit up," said Ms Luongo.
A Halloween Extravaganza
Many of her neighbors take the opportunity to go all out decorating for Halloween, too. Some take months planning and preparing their homes.
Mr McDonald said, "We want to make it a good experience for the kids and the parents that crowd Main Street each year."
He shares his Main Street duplex with Tracey McManus, who has become a Halloween decorating aficionado.
Since 2003, Ms McManus has gone all out in making parents and children's Main Street Halloween experience as memorable as possible. In past years, she has decorated the front of the house with themes like Grease, Pirates of the Caribbean, Peter Pan, princess castle, and most recently Star Wars - complete with a spaceship, Jabba the Hut (that she painted), Obi Wan Kenobi, and Darth Vadar.
"It has evolved throughout the years," said Ms McManus.
She says that everyone that comes to Main Street for Halloween is grateful of all the hard work that she and the other residents have put in to decorating and purchasing candy.
"All the people who come are so thankful and appreciative of everyone who welcomes them," said Ms McManus.
Ultimately, most Main Street residents can agree that Halloween on Main Street is a special occasion that is just as enjoyable for those giving the candy out as for those receiving the candy.
"It is a wonderful time," said Ms Luongo. "The atmosphere on Halloween is like a family Mardi Gras. It is all good natured and fun with people out talking to each other. It's not spooky and dark. We do enjoy it, and the spirit of it all is so reflective of our town."
Where To MakeÃÂ Candy Donations
To help support Main Street residents and alleviate some of their out-of-pocket expenses for Halloween, Newtown Parks & Recreation, at 3 Main Street (lower level), is a drop-off location for those looking to donate candy for Main Street residents.
Along with an ongoing drop-off location for donating candy, Parks & Rec staff will also be accepting candy contributions for Main Street at its annual Halloween Party for children 8 years old and under. The event will take place at the Dickinson Park pavilion on Wednesday, October 26, at 5 pm.
Any brand or size of candy is accepted, but Parks & Recreation does request all bags be sealed in order to be accepted.