Ghouls Hit Spring Street

ST. MARYS — Ghosts, vampires, fairies and movie characters gathered in the Chestnut Street parking lot Tuesday night for the annual Rotary Club Halloween Parade and costume contest.

Organizer Deb Zwez said the event provides an opportunity for area children to dress up in their costume, in addition to going out for Beggar’s Night.

“It gives kids in the community a chance to show off their Halloween costume,” she said. “It’s a chance for kids to show how cute they all are.”

Children participating in the parade were divided into 10 categories — including animals, cartoons, TV and movies, couples, funniest, most original and prettiest among others — and were judged on their costumes.

“They’re judged on the strength of their costume,” Zwez said, noting that the top five costumes in each category get a small cash prize.

Christie Freewalt creates costumes for her crew to participate in the contest and parade each year. This year, Freewalt’s crew — which included Ethan and Emma Freewalt, Evan and Brady Anderson, Carson Liming, Courtney Koeper and a dog, Quinn — dressed as the Flintstones, complete with a purple Quinn as Dino.

“This year my niece and the Andersons wanted to join so I wanted something that everyone could do,” Freewalt said of the idea she came up with.

Jared, Kirsten and Owen Brotherwood also sported homemade costumes dressed as Smurfs, and Grace and Ella Dicke donned their own creation.

“We’re flower baskets,” Grace said of her and her sister’s costumes.

The sisters wore green shirts covered in flowers with a basket around their waists. Their mother said she got the idea for the costume online.

Siblings Ryan and Alaina Ruvoldt sported more traditional costumes. Ryan dressed as a police officer, while Alaina was Batwoman. Ryan had a noble reason for his choice of costume.

“I wanted to protect people,” Ryan said of why he chose to be a police officer this year.

Aaliyah Rinehart also donned a traditional costume.

“I’m a pretty fairy,” Aaliyah said of her costume, noting that she chose it because she thought it was pretty.

Taylor Fisher has developed a strategy for choosing a costume.

“I’m a random person from the ’70s,” Taylor said of this year’s costume, complete with a bright, orange jumpsuit and a thick, black afro. “Last year I was someone from the ’60s, and next year I’m going to be someone from the ’80s.”

Following the judging for the costume contest, children marched in the Halloween Parade down Spring Street, amidst a variety of floats and the St. Marys Marching Band. Winners of the costume contest were announced at the conclusion of the parade, where each contestant received candy for participating.