ENCINITAS — The ghouls and goblins, pirates and princesses and more than a few local characters were on hand to celebrate a Safe Trick or Treat in downtown on Halloween night.
The event is a longtime tradition sponsored by the Downtown Encinitas MainStreet Association with support from local merchants. Children of all ages dressed for the occasion and participated in games and crafts at the Lumberyard while listening to a children’s band courtesy of the 101 Artists’ Colony.
Many families rely on the event for their Halloween entertainment. “It’s just not safe to go door-to-door anymore,” local resident Sherry Spencer-Jones said. Evelyn and Jim Blugrave have enjoyed the festivities with their daughter, Natalie, 8, for the past three years. “We love it down here at Halloween,” Evelyn said.
Numerous businesses along Highway 101 passed out goodies to trick-or-treaters. Many of the shop and restaurant owners got into the spirit of Halloween by dressing in costume themselves. From The Den just north of Encinitas Boulevard and Highway 101 down to the southern end of “Pumpkin Lane” at the Self-Realization Fellowship Bookstore, downtown was transformed into a Halloween tailored to the entire community.
Until 2001, the Self-Realization Fellowship hosted a Halloween festival that featured intricately carved pumpkins as a highlight of the evening. “It just became too big of an event for us to handle,” Brother Anilananda said. “What started out as a few hundred people decades ago turned into 10,000.” The organization has been donating carved pumpkins to DEMA’s Halloween celebration for the past eight years.
The elaborately carved pumpkins were displayed at four viewing stations along Highway 101. Children and adults alike marveled at the designs. “There is one depicting the Beatles, one of Mother Theresa, Abe Lincoln, and just beautiful designs,” Patrice Bartlet, an Oceanside resident, said. Postulant-or beginning monks are responsible for carving the pumpkins each year in addition to their spiritual studies and meditation. “We leave it up to the postulants and their own creativity what they want to carve,” Anilananda said.