NORTH EAST — Whether you are 6 or 36 there was Halloween fun to be had Saturday in Cecil County thanks to two local groups trying out brand new events.
Grown-ups walked along Main Street in Port Deposit for the Spirit Poker Stroll; a fundraiser for Community Connecting Us. Up the road at Cecil College, Cecil County CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) had a packed parking lot for its Trunk or Treat. Crowds of kids, many accompanied by adults also in costume, walked from trunk to trunk and collected candy, pencils, or other freebies.
"We had over a thousand people there," said Giulia Hodge, CASA executive director. Stationed throughout a large section of the college parking lot, 35 different organizations handed out treats. Not even halfway through the three-hour long Trunk or Treat word got back to Hodge that the candy was running out.
"I heard that the Cecil County Sheriff's Office started with 750 pieces and ran out," Hodge said. CCSO was not alone. "Cecil College sent a runner to pick up more candy."
Erica Berge, director of Community Connecting Us, an asset based community development non-profit offering a myriad of support services and programming in Port Deposit, said this first Spirit Poker Stroll brought several dozen visitors to walk along Main Street, learn the history of the waterfront town and shop the Amish and Artisans Craft Fair.
Berge and her volunteers are already plotting how to make next year's fall event bigger and better.
"Hopefully next year we'll have more signage," Berge said. A historian from the PawPaw Museum produced 70 signs that were posted at key locations depicting what houses still sitting along Main Street in 2020 looked like 100 or more years ago. At the start of the stroll Linda Smith offered an overview of the stroll and suggested what participants should look for along the way.
"We'll definitely do more story telling next year," Berge said. "It's one thing to read it and another to hear it."
Hodge said she appreciated that Cecil College partnered with CASA for the Trunk or Treat and offered the use of the Bay View Campus parking lot and campus security.
"And with traditional trick or treating not being sanctioned by the CDC ... we wanted to keep something for the kids," she said. "We were glad we were able to provide this."
Berge called the Spirit Poker Stroll and Amish and Artisans Craft Fair a success for a first year.
"People got to see how beautiful Port Deposit is. Too often they just see it driving through," Berge said. Or, since the town thrives on its restaurant businesses, she said too many come in just for that and never go beyond.
CASA is now moving on to its next fundraiser, the Festival of Trees.
"I ordered 50 new trees," she said of the Christmas tree decorating contest. "We unbox them and fluff them on Thursday."
However Hodge said she won't forget the biggest lesson she learned from Trunk or Treat.
"Have more candy," she said.