Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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October 27, 2012

Solidarity’s Halloween bash a safe haven for trick-or-treaters

Instead of prowling the night, thousands of ghosts, goblins and other creatures roamed around the Kokomo Events & Conference Center on U.S. 31 Saturday afternoon looking for fun and treats.

From the traditional ghosts, skeletons, fairies and super heroes to boy dressed as Hulk Hogan to a pair dressed as Legos the annual Kids Community Halloween Party showcased a wide variety of costumes.

Along with giving kids a safe place to trick-or-treat, the annual event sponsored by Solidarity Federal Credit Union featured a wide range of activities, fun bouncy houses and of course plenty of treats for the kids.

“This is really nice. There’s all kinds of stuff to do,” said Raymond McCowan, who brought his son Rwan, 2, dressed as a dinosaur, to the event.

“It’s really nice especially for families who don’t have the time to get out and be able to get dressed up,” he said. “Plus, it’s a nice and safe for the kids.”

Raymond and his son were among more than a thousand others who packed the events center for the event.

Sandra Young, along with her grandchildren, A’nyah, Hizer 7, dressed as a genie, and Marshawn Hizer, 4, dressed as a football fan and her great-niece, Sakiki Carr, 2, in a spider costume, came for the fun and games.

“We come every year,” said Young.

“This is something safe for the kids and there’ a variety of things to do,” she said. “This is just great.”

Diana TenBrook, vice president of marketing for Solidarity, said the event began after 9/11 to give parents a safe haven for their kids during Halloween.

“After 9/11, people wanted a safe place for their kids to trick-or-treat,” she said of the free event.

There’s a lot of kids,” she said. “We have the bouncy houses and a costume contests for the cutest, the scariest, the most original and a family category. Last year we had 3,900 people come through the door. We’re hoping to see everyone having fun. We couldn’t do this without all of our sponsors.”

The winners of the costume contest were awarded a $25 certificate deposit at Solidarity Federal Credit Union, gift cards and prizes from the various other sponsors, she said.

With her two daughters, London, 5, and Lainey, 4, dressed as a cat and bunny, Noel Younce made her first visit to the annual Halloween party to see what its all about.

“This is a nice safe place and it’s not cold,” she said.

To ensure the kids’ safety, the Howard County Sheriff Department had several deputies on hand to greet the kids and hand out candy.

“A lot of the [Drug Abuse Resistance Education] kids are here and we’re just proud to be part of this,” said Capt. Harold Vincent, who came dressed as himself.

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