Hard to believe by the scores of costumed kids on Friday that eight years ago, it barely broke double digits.
But such was the case when the inaugural Halloween Babies Parade for kids 4 and under kicked off at Wilcox Memorial Hospital where only a handful of kids dressed up to get free treats from hospital staff.
My, what a difference a few years makes.
“It’s unbelievable, all of the cutest, cutest costumes,” said Chrissy Schecter, dressed as a cowgirl, who brought her 15-month-old son Noah, dressed as a country western singer, to the eighth annual keiki parade, which drew around 275 trick-or-treaters. “I had no idea it was this big.”
But she understood why as soon as they got there.
“To come during the day, it’s safe. He goes to sleep at 6 o’clock at night, and nothing here’s scary,” she said. “We’ll do this again next year.”
Nothing scary perhaps, but creative, for sure.
Such as Tamakai Lynn’s getup. The 2-year-old looked every bit the part a professional wrestler with his mask and bare torso, which he flexed from time to time when his father Jeff asked him.
“His grandfather just came back from Mexico and got him the luchador mask and we came up with the rest of it,” Jeff said of the idea for the gear, adding, as other parents did, that they got enough candy to make going out at night unnecessary. “He really doesn’t eat candy anyway.”
The hourlong parade featured booths set up by several of the hospital department staffs. The kids, with parents in tow, walked excitedly around the hospital lobby in a giant circle and collected candy, lots of candy. Around 220 bags worth, plus healthy things, like toothbrushes, were given out.
“Every year it keeps growing,” said Kandi Bloss, who works in Wilcox’s Women and Infant Health Department and coordinated the event. “The first year we had 10.”
She said she probably worked with nearly all of the kids in the hospital in some fashion, and was proud to see the parade’s growth. It started as just a random idea that first year.
“We just want to give back to the community,” she said.
Kids came dressed as princesses, Ninja Turtles, mice and, in one case, an old man, a costume that netted Gavin Ho best costume honors from the judges.
“He was so excited when I told him this morning,” said Kristie Kapuy, who notified her son, Landen, dressed in green, that they were headed to the parade Halloween morning. “He knew he wanted to be a Ninja Turtle when he saw the movie.”