By MIKE FERGUSON
Of the Baker City Herald
One downtown merchant estimated the costumed crowd at between 1,200 and 1,300. Another said she distributed every bit of her 1,500 piece war chest.
We started out with a giant collection of peanut butter cups, candy bars and a candy mix, and its all gone, said Kelli Dailey, the secretary at Bruce Nichols certified public accountant office. But we did give two pieces each.
Last nights sixth annual downtown merchants trick-or-treat event, held under threatening and, at times, drizzly skies, was again a sight to behold, said merchants and service providers along Main Street.
We had a blast passing out candy and people watching, said Cristi Vega of New Directions Northwest. I saw a lot of Harry Potters and plenty of princesses. I saw a robot dressed creatively in a box with reflectors and one kid who came as a giant LEGO piece.
It all seemed well-organized with all the crossing guards. I really think this is a good alternative to trick-or-treating in your neighborhood.
Boy Scout Troops 452 and 450 Scoutmaster Deon Strommer noted that this was the first year that the Baker City Police Department had stood with Scouts as Scouts helped trick-or-treaters across Main Street.
Cub Scouts from Packs 439 and 436 and Boy Scouts from Troop 444 also helped police stop traffic at Church Street and Valley and Court avenues when trick-or-treaters were ready to garner snacks on the opposite side of Main Street.
I think it went really well, Strommer said. The boys did a great job. People just couldnt thank us enough.
Scouts wore orange reflective vests furnished by the city and carried flashlights to shine in the streets to alert cars when they were ready to guide groups across.
They were rewarded for their hard work with sandwiches and drinks courtesy of Subway.
Merchants had asked police to close Main Street during the two hours of trick-or-treating, but police opted to help provide officer crossing guards instead because they didnt have enough officers to control traffic as pedestrians came off Resort and First streets at several different intersections, Police Chief Jim Tomlinson said.
In addition, Tomlinson said, some of the intersections that trick-or-treaters might choose to get to Main Street from First and Resort are not well-lighted.
I would have loved to have seen Main Street between Broadway and Auburn closed down, said Beverly Calder, owner of Bella and president of Historic Baker City, Inc. But it was nice to see Baker City police helping the Scouts this year.
By providing the crossing service, police probably learned a valuable lesson, Calder said: Some drivers have a hard time stopping for pedestrians, even those in the crosswalk.
When police walked out into the crosswalk, traffic certainly stopped for them, she said. When we have that many children downtown, people need to be super careful.
Reporter Chris Collins contributed to this story.