At the peak of a chilly Saturday evening, an estimated 500 persons ignored the cold and jammed Main Street and Division, with many adults and children in costume as Halloween-themed events finally seemed to create the kind of excitement and engagement that downtown Hope has been looking for during most of 2017.

At the peak of a chilly Saturday evening, an estimated 500 persons ignored the cold and jammed Main Street and Division, with many adults and children in costume as Halloween-themed events finally seemed to create the kind of excitement and engagement that downtown Hope has been looking for during most of 2017.
And, it wasn’t only the many Wonder Women, Harley Quinns, Power Rangers, Bumble Bees or princesses roaming about, as the show cars proved just as dressed up as the kids with elaborate trunk displays, full of candy for Trunk and Treat.
After 200 or so attended similar festivities in 2016, Saturday evening proved to be a big breakout, with nearly double attendance. At one point before the costume contest with the crowd still surging, organizer Sharon Caldwell said, “Wow, would you look at this…”
Dubbed as Hope Downtown Network’s “Fall Festival” a convergence of events and groups came together for what was essentially an all day affair in downtown.
Early in the day, October’s edition of Trade Days, actually ran into another slow start as 32-degree temperatures greeted its opening.  As temperatures warmed up some, right before 12 noon, some shoppers emerged to greet vendors, many of whom were bundled in blankets and jackets most of the morning.
Downtown Network President Bob Erwin conceded the cooler than expected temperatures may have kept some away, but as things rebounded slightly at noon, he said “We had a better turnout than last time, and the vendors were happy when things pickup when it warmed up. I would say it was success.”
Erwin also said that October was likely going to be the last Trade Days in 2017, saying “The weather in November is just too unpredictable, plus you have Thanksgiving and later all the activities during December and Christmas.  We will probably be looking at March 2018, when things warm up again.”
With the cool temperatures being chilled by an occasional brisk breeze, the warmth inside Tailgaters Restaurant proved to be as much an attraction as the food.
In between the end of Trade Days and the official start of the Trunk and Treat at 6 p.m., however, many kids and adults in costume were already coming into the Main Street area as the Show Cars started parking.
“They were already getting here early,” Caldwell said, “It was great to see the turnout.”
The original Trunk and Treat costume contest was only set up to include infants and children to age 10, but with both children and adults in costume as far as the eye could see, Caldwell said “We will have to expand our categories next year for teens and adults to accommodate the turnout. This is great.”
Erwin, who was also a guest judge for the costume contest, said “There is no doubt looking around here tonight that this was an overwhelming success. We can look around and see the families down here having fun, and we want to grow it next year.”
The Halloween mood in downtown was also evident as entire families were seen dressed up as well as owners of the show cars.  Waitresses at Tailgators were also dressed up as well as the owners of neighboring shop, Blonde Ambition, who set their store up as a kid’s Haunted House.
Other groups got involved this year as well, which Caldwell credited to the bigger turnouts.
“We had the Civitan club down here painting faces; we had a group from HAPS; we had the Junior Auxiliary here with candy, and Yeager with candy and games. This was really a great thing to bring the community together for fun, fellowship and good times,” she said.