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Halloween a hit on Elm

CARLSBAD — The second annual Halloween on Elm was all about a safe Halloween for children, families and all to enjoy. The Oct. 29 event, hosted by the city of Carlsbad, offered a spooktacular time in the Village.
Children dressed in costumes scampered into businesses displaying giant candy corns at the entrances. The candy corn sign meant the children were steps away from some good old fashioned trick-or-treating. More than 40 businesses participated in the treat bag filling fun.
“One of the best parts about this event is that it is free for residents and those folks in neighboring cities are welcome to come,” said Courtney Enriquez, event project manager and managament analyst for the city of Carlsbad. “It’s great we can provide something like this and in a safe enviroment, too.”
The event started in the early afternoon hours. In between some serious trick-or-treating, a line formed at the costume contest registration area.
When the children needed to rest their feet, or parents needed a breather from chasing them down, the little ones made a beeline to the hands-on art activities center where their imaginations soared.
After a bit of respite, the children were back on their feet again and muscled their way to the Halloween-themed carnival games or happily leaped into a jump house.
For those who were brave enough to enter, the Boys & Girls Club impressed with their eerie haunted house.
Some gathered around Carlsbad Librarian Ally Goodwin for magical storytelling time.
The costume parade offered entertainment for both participants and spectators. Vibrant colors and creative outfits were donned by children, adults and pets.
“The pet costume contest is very popular,” Enriquez said. “Residents love their animals.”
For the most part, Enriquez said, the activities basically stayed the same except for one. “The biggest event change is that last year we had an outdoor movie, and this year, we elected to go with live entertainment instead,” she said. And that amusement was provided by a group called Raggle Taggle, who performed a Halloween Bucaneer Pirate Show.
Last year, Enriquez said, the city was caught off guard as to how popular the event was going to be. It attracted nearly 5,000 people. Crowds this year were estimated to be as big if not bigger.
Those numbers meant street closures in the Village.
“The safety of the event has increased tremendously,” she said.
The most common feedback Enriquez has heard about the event is how appreciative residents are that there is a safe environment for families to go during the Halloween season.
Local businesses in the Village were excited about the day because it brought in a lot of foot traffic.
“We’re not only providing a family event, but it also brought people to the Village stores,” she said. Enriquez pointed out that even though visitors might not have been making purchases that evening, more than likely, they will return for some shopping during the holiday season.
“The event brings general awareness to the area,” she said. “A lot of people got involved this year and it’s great to see the community participate because the partnership makes it a much richer event.”