Young superheroes, princesses and vampires, along with parents and grandparents, lined up outside the Pittsburg Family YMCA for the annual Halloween carnival.
"it’s cold out here, but cats don’t get cold," said Haley Phillips, 7, Girard, who was dressed as a black cat because she has a black cat named Rocky.
By the time the event was nearly over, more than 400 youngsters had participated. No official tally was kept on adults, but probably close to 1,000 people attended the carnival.
"We had about twice as many kids as we had last year," said Jack Bache, YMCA executive director.
The free carnival included games, treats and a costume contest.
Sunflower Kiwanis Club also sponsored its annual Boo to the Flu clinic, with youngsters 2 and older able to receive free flu vaccinations if accompanied by a parent.
That could have qualified as a trick rather than a treat, but not this year.
"We didn’t do any shots this year," said Janis Goedeke, Crawford County Health Department public health officer. "We did the nasal mist because it’s more effective, it’s quicker and kids don’t like shots."
They came with 60 doses of nasal mist, and gave them all out.
"We’ve brought the kids here the last three years, and we have not had the flu since we’ve been coming here for the shots," said Cheyenne Hunziker. "This is a really good program."
Her children like the carnival for other reasons. Son Jonah likes the games, and daughter Roary’s favorite thing is the candy.
"I like the throwing games," said Mary Prewett, 12, who came dressed as a doctor.
There’s a good reason for that, according to Boya Abudu, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Crawford County volunteer.
"Mary is a softball player, and when she throws, she hits the target the first time," she said.
Braden Munger, who will turn 10 on Nov. 14, won tops overall in the costume contest. He wore a black shroud-like garment and had a bloody face.
"I thought it would be the best ever and it was," he said.
"I did his make-up after school because he couldn’t have blood in school," said his mother, Kindra Autry. "I used toilet paper, Elmer’s Glue and fake blood. It’s the cheapest costume I’ve come up with so far."
Her daughter, Kinidy Ikehorn, 4, wore a Kansas State University cheerleader costume.
"Kinidy is being Aunt Molly tonight, after her aunt, my sister Molly, who’s a K-State cheerleader now," Autry said.
Page 2 of 2 - She said they decided to come to the YMCA because of Kinidy, who didn’t like being out in the cold.
"We were outside trick-or-treating and she told me that her feet had stopped working, so we came here where it’s warm," Autry said.
Each child attending received a goodie bag and treats, and there were drawings for prizes.
"We had more than 50 sponsors in the community, and we couldn’t do this without them," Bache said. "Peggy Kimmel, our program director, does most of the work for this every year. Our staff helps, and we have a lot of volunteers, many of them from Pittsburg State University."
He started the Halloween carnival about 27 years ago.
"At that time there was hardly anything else in the way of Halloween activities in Pittsburg," Bache said. "Now the Pittsburg Parks and Recreation Department has activities, and I think some of the churches were doing something this year as well."
He’s delighting that families still enjoy coming to the YMCA.
Autry and her children are definitely fans.
"We came to the YMCA last year, and we’ll return next year," she said.