For years Trick or Treat Downtown, sponsored by the New Albany Main Street Association, was a wholesome child-friendly October event that attracted hundreds of kids and their parents downtown.
Scores of kids participated each year in a costume contest that the Gazette helped organize, lots of candy was given out by the association and local merchants, and clubs participated with face painting and games for the children.
The event cost money to put on and brought in none. That was a problem.
Two years ago the association reorganized the event de-emphasizing children’s activities somewhat, added a fee for participating in the costume contest, and started a chili cook-off and live entertainment.
Frankly, the event has been slow to get traction here even though chili cook-offs are popular in some cities, including Tupelo. Meanwhile, grumbling continues about the demise of Trick or Treat Downtown.
This year the City of New Albany tourism department got involved and added a Tallahatchie Zombie Run to the event.
A city video, available on You-Tube and Facebook promoting the run, strikes us as anything but child-friendly. It’s scary; many children likely would cry. In the video, runners crossing the finish line are even offered a beer.
We’re not enamored with the way this once-popular children’s event has evolved over the past three years. What we have now is a mish-mash.
It’s time for a serious rethinking of what originally was a Halloween event for children.