The Pittsburg Family YMCA offered both a trick and a treat on Saturday night.

The Pittsburg Family YMCA offered both a trick and a treat on Saturday night.

Hundreds of costumed kids lined up early for the treats provided at the annual Halloween Carnival. But the trick was getting many of the kids to get a free flu shot.

“We only had one kid that I saw really hold on to their mom when they were getting a flu shot,” said Dean Cortes, project organizer of “Boo to the Flu.” “A lot of the children were easy to work with. We appreciate the effort of the parents in bringing them out here.”

Roughly 65 students got vaccinated against the flu while they were somewhat captive audiences. The children were really there for the candy, food and games to be found at the event.

“My favorite part is seeing the kids come in, and I can see all their costumes,” said Jack Bache, YMCA executive director. “We’ve been doing this for 20 years, and each year, it gets a little bit better. It’s something we look forward to every Halloween.”

The flu shots are a much younger tradition, according to Cortes.

“This is only the second time we have been actively offering the flu shots,” Cortes said. “Last year, because of the shortage caused by the H1N1 scare, we canceled. This time, we are working with the Crawford County Health Department, and we were able to provide the shots for free.”

As for the real attraction, Bache said there were more than 20 games and events offered for ghouls and goblins alike, as well as fairies, princesses and fairy princesses.

“It’s been going fantastic,” Bache said. “We had a good group of volunteers that makes this possible. We’ve had at least 600 kids come through. That doesn’t count the adults, so we’ve probably had more than 1,000 people here tonight.”

The large crowds have become a staple of the Halloween Carnival, and one that Bache and other organizers have learned to expect.

“We had people standing in line at 6:15 p.m.,” Bache said. “They were lined up around the sidewalk to the parking lot. Last year, we had to send people to go get more candy. So this year we got so much we won’t run out. We enjoy everybody coming out and don’t want to leave anyone disappointed.”

There were a few that left with a sore arm from the vaccine, but don’t think that ruined their night.

“This was a big success, and I thank my fellow Kiwanisians who came to help,” Cortes said. “We tried to work the line outside, since it came right by here. Some parents came in first, and then played, and some let their kids play, and then came back for the shot. We appreciate everybody’s support. I hope we can do this every year.”

Andrew Nash can be reached at or by calling 231-2600 ext. 132.