The Berks-Mont News (http://www.berksmontnews.com)

More than 2,500 Trick or Treaters pack Kutztown


By lmitchell@berksmontnews.com">Lisa Mitchell, Patriot Editorlmitchell@berksm

The beautiful, the scary and the unusually costumed people and pets packed Main Street Wednesday night for the 2012 Downtown Kutztown Trick or Treat.
“The street is full, there’s a lot of people here,” said Garret Miller, of the Kutztown Optimist Club. “It’s a fun night.”
More than 2,500 ghouls, spooks, princesses and fairies crowded the street closed to traffic from College Blvd. to Constitution in Kutztown.
The Kutztown Optimist Club and Kutztown Community Partnership annual event included the opportunity to Trick Or Treat at Kutztown businesses and at stations set up by local organizations, including Kutztown University student groups, the Kutztown Fire Company and Kutztown Area Teachers Association.
Kutztown Community Partnership’s new Main Street Program Director Amanda Keith Verrastro likes that the Trick or Treat event “brings out all sorts of community members and kids that sometimes wouldn’t even know live in Kutztown.”
Verrastro was excited to see so many people out at the event that exceeded last year’s Treat or Treat night of about 2,000 people. Participants reported they handed out about 2,000 to 2,500 pieces of candy, she said.
“I think that having the camaraderie of having so many business and community groups come together is what draws people, someone knows someone and here it happens,” said Verrastro. “It’s safe and we have Community Service Officers all over the place thanks to the borough donating their time and it’s a safe place, you’re not worried about any cars running around. Kids are able to go freely and they see faces they trust handing out candy.”
Kutztown area resident Jennifer Hess attended for the first time.
“I like that they close down the street so the kids can all come out and not have to worry about traffic. It just seems really safe,” said Hess. “It’s just nice for the community to come together.”
Corporal Paul Clery of the Kutztown Borough Police Department was out on his bike patrolling Main Street.
“Everybody gets to come out and see each other dressed up, the animals get out, and just have a good time,” said Clery.
Clery was one of several officers seen patrolling the street, as well as Community Service Officers.
“The street shuts down and it’s all families so it’s really a safe environment for kids to go out and Trick or Treat,” said Clery.
At the center of all of the activity was the Costume Judging Contest run by the Optimist Club.
“We get all of the businesses involved, they all give prizes for the costume contest, so it’s a way to bring the community together,” said Miller.
Chuck Altenderfer, of the Optimist Club, said it’s a great community event.
“It gets everyone out, it’s a safe night for kids and everyone’s involved, the whole community,” said Altenderfer.
Optimist Frank Matrone, dressed as Dr. Mad Scientist, said they love all the people and the kids enjoying the event.
“The Optimist Club supports activities of the local area, the children,” said Matrone.
Matrone served as one of the judges for the costume contest, which gave out prizes for cutest baby, most original, most creative, funniest, parent and child team, best couple, scariest, and best pet costume.
Winners included a plate of spaghetti, a load of dirty laundry, a scary clown, the cutest baby lion, Indiana Jones Lego Man, to name a few.
“It’s a great program, it’s a great night,” said Miller, of the Optimist Club.