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Third Street merchants host trick-or-treaters


Kirk Boxleitner

Catwoman Chloe Cox, 6, left, joins Spider-Man Braden Jensen, 4, right, in patrolling the streets of Marysville, to keep them safe from too much candy.

The merchants of Third Street don't always have the best luck when it comes to Halloween.

Those who buy bowls of candy for the families full of trick-or-treaters who descend upon the historic downtown every Oct. 31 acknowledge that weekdays and rainy days tend to yield depressed levels of turnout.

Nonetheless, Mary Kirkland estimated about 150 costumed revelers streamed through the doors of Hilton Pharmacy this rainy Halloween Monday, from 4:30-5:30 p.m.

"We didn't have enough small toys for them this year, so we bought suckers instead," Kirkland said.

Hilton Pharmacy starts staging its Halloween-themed decorations and products for purchase weeks in advance, with most items selling for half off by the Great Pumpkin day.

While "costume mistress" Janet McAllister has spent just as long outfitting her coworkers in previous years, Kirkland and her fellow pharmacists donned simple spider headdresses this year.

"One of the other girls wanted us to call ourselves the Black Widows, but I thought the Merry Widows would work as well," Kirkland laughed. "We have an identity crisis."

Dana Wren wasn't sure whether he'd have candy ready by the start of trick-or-treating, since his wife was stuck in traffic, but Lorene arrived at Wrenhaven Vintage Market in time to preserve their perfect five-year record of Halloweens observed on Third Street.

"We weren't even open for business yet that first year," Dana said. "But since we were in the building, we still took the time to dress up in pirate costumes and hand out candy."

Although the Wrens went with a less elaborate costume of owl masks this year, they've learned to stock extra-heavy quantities of Snickers and M&Ms over the years.

"Those tend to be the favorites," Dana said. "Now, we do have some kids who make a second pass for candy, so we have a second bowl ready for them, with less-premium candy."

Even if kids come by in minimalist costumes "just looking for food," the Wrens still indulge them.

Just as Wrenhaven started rewarding trick-or-treaters before it officially opened, so too did Carr's Hardware open its doors to hand out candy this Halloween, in spite of closing up shop recently.

"We're still part of the downtown community," said Gail Scott Libbing, as she and her mom, Darlene, stood in the doorway of an otherwise cleaned-out building. "Too many businesses are closed on Monday."

Darlene welcomed the opportunity to say hello again to so many families whom she recognized as customers.

Kirk Boxleitner

Lorene Wren, of Wrenhaven Vintage Market, pours two bowls of candy for trick-or-treaters on Third Street.

Last year saw both Carr's and Le Vintage Finds run out of candy, necessitating emergency refills midway through the hour-long trick-or-treating window.

"We had to run across the street to Walgreens to buy more bags," said Karen Nitke, who decorated Le Vintage Finds with fake birds and movie posters of Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds," to match coworker Jamie Worland's costume as a bird attack victim.

"I was up all night gluing birds onto this suit," Worland said, while Nitke lamented her inability to find a green skirt-suit that resembled Tippi Hedren's iconic outfit.

Although Nitke loves celebrating Halloween, both on the job and at home, she admitted that the relative realism of her scares can go a bit over the top sometimes.

"We've had to tell some kids, 'We're just in costume, just like you,' or else they won't even grab any candy," Nitke laughed.


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