Candy-seekers were out in full force Thursday afternoon as kids in costume collected free sweets from participating merchants in downtown Santa Barbara. Plenty of adults also got into the Halloween spirit.
“I got M&M’s,” a young girl dressed as a princess exclaimed before darting up the 1200 block of State Street.
Superheroes, ghosts, cats and other characters went door-to-door, asking for candy — and saying “thank you.” Kids also received more lasting treats such as stickers and small toys.
The trick-or-treaters filled their plastic orange-colored pumpkins, little reusable bags and animal-shaped baskets with as many goodies as possible.
More than 60 businesses along State Street and in Paseo Nuevo distributed candy and fun-size items to trick-or-treaters, and similar opportunities occurred across Santa Barbara County’s South Coast on All Hallows’ Eve.
Shops in the State Street corridor had balloons in their windows to indicate participation.
“It’s one of our favorite events,” said Tim Persson, marketing manager for Downtown Santa Barbara, the nonprofit organizing the event. “It’s not only great for kids and families, but it’s also a great way for businesses to connect with our community.”
The kid-friendly and organized gathering provides a safe alternative to nighttime trick-or-treating, Lompoc resident Christian Cordero said, while standing alongside her 3-year-old son, Juan Felipe Juarez.
“It’s a nice place and it’s safe, and that’s what I’m looking for,” Cordero said of trick-or-treating in downtown Santa Barbara. “You can walk outside safely, and that’s a good thing.”
Nearby MAC Cosmetics at East De La Guerra and State streets, Cordero’s son donned a pirate outfit and a plastic sword, and wore a fake mustache. He gave a nod of approval when asked if he liked his candy and if he was having fun.
“He is tired,” Cordero said of her son. “We were at Milpas Street before this because they are giving out candy, too.”
The Halloween festivity was active up and down State, with children and some grown-ups dressed up for the one-day celebration.
They posed for a group photo.
Several trick-or-treating and daytime activities also occurred across the county on Thursday, including La Cumbre Plaza in Santa Barbara, the Calle Real Shopping Center in Goleta, and storefronts along Coast Village Road in Montecito.