As grocery stores begin selling candy in bulk and children and Halloween enthusiasts assemble their costumes, Jazmyn Lyons and Downtown Williams Lake are preparing to bring the popular Downtown Trick’R’Treat to the lakecity once more.
A relatively new event that’s quickly become a favourite of many lakecity families and youth, Downtown Trick’R’Treat originated with Lyons and the Realm of Toys as a fun way to promote local business and provide children with a fun extra way to collect candy. Over the last four years, this event has grown in size, scale, attendance and in participating businesses far beyond what Lyons ever could have foreseen.
“It keeps exploding to the point where we don’t even bother advertising, otherwise we wind up with too many businesses,” Lyons said. “We just hit 50 this year, which is almost too much because we can’t expect the little kids to hit all 50 stores.”
Last year Lyons said she expected to see around 350 children come out to take part in the event but when all was said and done she counted upwards of 500.
Originally the event came out of Lyons’ own love for Halloween and because her work at Realm of Toys was preventing her from staying home and giving out candy, she wanted to find a way to bring the trick or treaters to them. The first year she started with 28 and has only grown since. A sample of the participating businesses includes, Lyons said, Poppy Home, the Heeler, Framed Creations by Bruce, Taylor Made Cakes, Shoppers Drug Mart and the new Tim Hortons, to name but a few, are all taking part.
In future years, Lyons said she will likely cap the number of businesses at 50 to keep it manageable. Lyons will be releasing the map of this year’s route the week before Halloween online and will be running two copies of it in the Tribune as well. All participating locations will also have a stack of maps available for trick or treaters, Lyons added.
“It’s unlike anything I’ve seen since I was a little kid. I grew up in Kelowna in a very dense neighbourhood so when you went out you just saw hordes of goblins, ghosts and cartoon characters,” Lyons recalled. “I haven’t seen that in the last 10 or 15 years (until this event). You come to this event, you go outside on the street, and it’s almost overwhelming the number of people and the energy.”
The time limit of the event, which runs from 2:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 31 provides a real sense of urgency, Lyons said, which adds to the excitement for all the trick or treaters.
There are also raffle prizes for those who visit as many locations as they can, though this year Lyons said she’ll be breaking up the passports into two sets of 25.
“It is so awesome seeing kids so excited but in such dense groups. It’s the weirdest feeling when you go out into the street and see hundreds of families on the sidewalks,” Lyons said.
“Any businesses that want to sign up for next year, the sooner the better because I will be putting that cap on how many can register.”
Lyons also wanted to mention her mother and business partner Joan Douillard is a driving force behind this event and has helped her bring it to life each year by really pounding the pavement to recruit new partners and drum up interest.