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Canton Halloween event draws hundreds

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CANTON — The Foote family wondered if their Halloween costumes might merit free admission to the American Theatre as they walked past the business Saturday afternoon.

Jakob E., 1, was dressed as a movie ticket, while his brother Robert L., 2, was an M&M. Tyler M. was a box of movie popcorn, complete with more than 100 real kernels glued by his mother, Trudy, that morning. Leah, 9, was a Starburst box that included nutritional facts on the back.

“The kids asked if we could get in for free because we had a movie ticket,” Trudy Foote said.

The Footes were among the hundreds who attended “Phantoms in the Park” in downtown Canton on Saturday afternoon. Children and their families bobbed for apples, jumped in leaf piles, colored pumpkins and entered a costume contest. At 1 p.m., the families walked along downtown streets, meandering through the pylons, cones, and orange fencing in the Route 11 construction zone, and trick-or-treated at businesses.

The event has been going strong for well over a decade, said Sally A. Hill, executive director of the Canton Chamber of Commerce. Saturday’s dry weather was a welcome change from the rain in past years, and families didn’t seem to mind the road work downtown, she said. With Halloween falling on a Wednesday, and the threat of rain and wind next week, Saturday provided an opportunity many children wouldn’t have otherwise, she said.

“This is actually their party,” Ms. Hill said. “This is trick-or-treating to them.”

Bethany M. Sheridan, 8, dressed as a witch, competed with her friends Bailey M. Vierick and Brianna J. Perham, 10, in a Canton Village Park mummy race, one of the activities offered Saturday.

The three girls were wrapped in toilet paper as they tried to run through the park dressed as mummies; Miss Vierick was in costume as the “Angry Bird” video game character, while Ms. Perham was dressed as a war goddess/vampire. The witch won.

“It feels like you’re a statue,” Ms. Sheridan said as she described the mummy race. “It feels like you have one leg.”

Miss Perham’s mother, Shannon, was glad Canton offered such an event.

“It’s one of the good points about being in a small town,” she said. “It’s ... being part of a community.”

Andre M. LeBlanc, 8, of Rensselaer Falls said his mother gave him two choices for Halloween costumes: a caterpillar or a Christmas tree. It wasn’t a tough decision; Mr. LeBlanc’s birthday is two days after Christmas, and he isn’t really fond of caterpillars.

“I hate caterpillars unless they’re fuzzy,” he said.

Johanna LeBlanc made the Christmas tree by dying an old hoop skirt green and adding lights and bulbs; it was a change of pace from the penguin and Pikachu costumes Andre wore in previous years.

She was glad her son had a chance to celebrate Halloween on a Saturday.

“More people are available because it’s the weekend,” she said. “It’s easier for all the parents to be able to participate.”

St. Lawrence University students helped set up, ran some of the activities and contests and cleaned up afterward. All six of the university’s fraternities and sororities participated, said Lilli C. Donahue, an SLU senior and community service chairwoman of the university’s Panhellenic Council.

The event allows SLU students to meet community members, she said.

“It’s one of the opportunities for us all to work together,” she said. “Everybody makes time to get out for this.”

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