By Kulsoom Khan, Wilkes-Barre Times Leader
WILKES-BARRE —A range of characters from Princess Leia to the Grim Reaper to one of the Ninja Turtles all turned up on Public Square on Tuesday.
The annual Halloween Trick or Treating on Public Square was hosted by the city, the Downtown Wilkes-Barre Business Association and Diamond City Partnership and sponsored by the Times Leader, D&N Furniture and City Mark Credit Union as well as several other local businesses.
Representatives from the various businesses, who were stationed all around the square, handed out candy and goody bags to children. The Times Leader debuted the newest member of its team, a very friendly bear mascot named TL.
“As we continue to strengthen our community ties, it is important for the Times Leader Media Group to be at local events with our readers and advertisers,” said Renee Sager, director of marketing for the Times Leader Media Group. “Having a mascot is a natural fit because families and children interact with it. We look forward to TL being very visible at many more community events in the coming years.”
Adults and children, reportedly 2,000 of them, seemed to be having a ball.
“This is the biggest I’ve ever seen it,” said Jackie Wallen, who has been attending the event for the past three years. Wallen came with her nieces and nephews, ranging from 4-month-old Kinsley, who was dressed in a fluffy white bunny costume, to 11-year-old Conner, who was dressed as a hockey player.
Michelle Collis also attended last year and decided to come again with her two daughters, Carney, 6, and Gabbie, 7.
“I enjoyed it last year,” she said. “It’s better than walking from house to house.”
Carney was dressed as Harley Quinn, a supervillian comic book character, and Gabbie was dressed as Starfire, another comic book character who is a superheroine.
“I was very excited,” said Carney, referring to the opportunity to attend the event. She said her favorite part was playing a game similar to Plinko at the Calvary Bible Church booth.
The family had only stopped at three different tents, but both girls had baskets full of candy.
“We still have to go all the way around,” Collis said with a laugh.
Unlike Collis, Erica Banicky, a resident of Forty Fort said that trick or treating on Public Square is nice, but she actually prefers to trick or treat with her 5-year-old daughter, Layla, the traditional way and do the “walking from house to house” thing.
“That’s what I grew up doing,” Banicky said. She also said that trick-or-treating methods are changing with the times, giving an example of trunk-or-treat events getting popular.
Banicky admitted, however, that newer public trick-or-treating activities are good, because security is not a concern as there is a prominent police presence.
“It’s something safe for the kids to go to,” she said.