Chamber of Commerce, churches are providing safe alternatives to trick-or-treating

by: FAYE TAYLOR/SPECIAL TO THE CENTRAL OREGONIAN - The Crook County Harvest Party, which takes place at the Crook County Fairgrounds, will include a puppet show where the puppets perform both nonsense tunes and some Christian songs.

Although many in Prineville still don a Halloween costume and trick or treat from door to door on Oct. 31, others choose different ways to celebrate fall.

Decades ago, when razor blades and needles started showing up in trick-or-treat candy across the nation, people began looking for safer ways of having fun. Many businesses and churches began to offer safe alternative activities.

Prineville has several fun and family-friendly ways to spend Halloween evening.

Come out for the evening or make an entire day of it starting with the Second Annual Candy Crawl. This event, sponsored by the Crook County Chamber of Commerce merchant group, was such a success last year that they are doing it again this year.

The “Second Annual Candy Crawl” is scheduled for Oct. 31st.

Children will be welcomed to don their best costumes and “trick-or-treat” in downtown businesses during regular business hours. Kids can get their special passports stamped that can later be redeemed for prizes. The goal is to visit as many businesses as possible. Candy will be in abundance.

The Crook County Library, Bowman Museum, and Whispering Pines Funeral Home are also participating in the Candy Crawl.

“We’re doing a couple things that day,” said Barratt Miller, Youth and Adult Services Librarian at Crook County Library. “Kids that aren’t in school yet will have [Halloween-themed] story time at 11 a.m. along with some special Halloween-type activities. And for anybody who drops in, we’ll obviously be stamping [Candy Crawl] passports, and we’ll give away candy and Halloween-themed prizes for anybody who wants one.”

Bowman Museum's Crook County History Center will host several businesses that will also be handing out candy and stamping passports. The Museum itself hopes to get some traffic through, as well.

Whispering Pines Funeral Home will also be hosting some businesses that will be stamping passports and giving candy. Rest assured, Dracula will not be jumping out of any coffins.

Ericksons Food Market, Wagner’s Price Slasher, and Ray’s Food Place are also participating in the Candy Crawl. Ray’s Food Place will be offering 50 percent off some of their party and clean-up items, as well. While Grocery Outlet is not participating in the Candy Crawl, they will be handing out candy to customers.

After the Candy Crawl, another way to join in the fun is to attend the Crook County Harvest Party, happening at the Crook County Fairgrounds indoor arena, from 6 - 8 p.m. Admission is free.

“We’re going to have puppets and some of the kids on my team right now will be performing both nonsense songs and some Christian songs — mostly raucous music that people enjoy — and we'll hand out candy,” said Cindy Jones of Calvary Baptist Church in Prineville.

Many churches will provide all sorts of items as well as refreshments and candy.

“Calvary Chapel will be helping out with popcorn. We’ve got New Life Bible Chapel helping out with the cookie walk. First Baptist Church is helping out with the fish pond, and a Good News Station,” said organizer Brian Carmack of Eastside Church also participating.

There will be other churches handling a football toss, basketball toss, and more.

A couple of wild and crazy guys on stilts will entertain everyone and free pony rides are promised, as well as bounce houses.

Family-friendly costumes are encouraged, and a can of food would be appreciated for the food bank at St. Vincent de Paul, but not required.

Carmack said that 15 or 20 Prineville businesses have sponsored this event.

The Candy Crawl and Harvest Party promise to be an entire day of safe fun and treats for the whole family. Please leave “tricks” at home.

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