The Sherman and Denison communities celebrated Halloween on Tuesday night with the annual Fright Fest on the Sherman Municipal Grounds and Monsters on Main on Denison’s Main Street.
Despite some afternoon rain showers, both events remained open to the public, and thousands of trick-or-treaters donned their costumes and collected candy from area businesses and organizations. The Sherman Police Department hosted Fright Fest and welcomed an estimated 3,000 to 6,000 costumed participants who hopped from booth to booth collecting sweet treats.
“It’s an event that everyone looks forward to and something that we started for the community,” Sherman Sgt. D.M. Hampton said. “It’s just our way of giving back besides just going out and working our normal patrols and regular duties.”
Hampton explained that Fright Fest was started in 2001 as a way to give families a secure place to trick-or-treat after the Sept. 11th terrorist attacks. And while Fright Fest was largely geared toward the youngest of the participants, Hampton said there was also something in it for their chaperones.
“The parents have the opportunity to maybe get some information about a group a club or an organization that’s here local and the kids, of course, can get their hands on some candy,” Hampton said.
In Denison, about 3,000 ghosts, ghouls and goblins — an assortment of superheroes and Disney characters — walked a six-block section of Main Street collecting candy as a part of the city’s annual Monsters on Main festivities. The annual Halloween event, which features downtown businesses handing out candy to trick-or-treaters, was hosted by the Denison Main Street department.
Main Street Director Donna Dow said she was uncertain how long the city has hosted the event but knows it dates back to the early 2000s and was started about the same time as the annual Music on Main concert series.
Among the activities offered at the event was trick-or-treating and a costume contest for all ages, Dow said.
Dow said the event has always been popular with residents and neighboring communities as it offers the traditional trick-or-treating in a safe environment with the streets blocked off from traffic.
“You know who is giving the candy and the blocked off streets make it safe,” she said. “I think it has been successful because families can have the opportunity to get lots of candy in a safe environment in short walking distance.”
Among the local business owners giving out candy Tuesday night was Marcie Sullivan with the Print House Boutique. Sullivan, who was dressed as a black cat for the holiday, said she has been participating in the past four events.
“The community has always given to us and now we want to give back,” she said while handing out candy. “They’ve supported us and I want to return the support.”
Sullivan agreed that part of the appeal is the safe environment that the city offers. She added that the larger crowd of families trick-or-treating adds an extra level of safety to the event.
“I had kids and how fun is it to know you can take them to a place that is safe,” she said. “And I am sure at night this old Main Street certainly looks pretty scary.”
Adriel Morales and Melissa Sanchez were among those who came out for Tuesday’s festivities and the chance at free candy. Morales, who was celebrating his first Halloween, was dressed as the Cat in the Hat while Sanchez wore a red shirt with a white circle emblazoned with the phrase “Mommy to all Thing” as a nod to Dr. Seuss.
Sanchez said she heard about the event via Facebook and decided it would be a good alternative to the normal trick-or-treating tradition.
“It seemed safer to me rather than going house to house,” she said.