Scare on Square Costume Winners

The Vermilion Parish Library has been filling Magdalen Square on Halloween for the past 14 years with costumed children and a safe venue for trick-or-treating.

Director Jackie Choate began the program with the cooperation of the downtown merchants to offer a safer evening out for the children. With a central location of Magdalen Square, the gathering led to the perfect opportunity to offer more than just children wandering about asking for candy. Plus, at the time, the Square was just across the street from the Abbeville library.

Activities went from trick-or-treating at the downtown stores to include costume contests and story-telling by invited guest speakers. Many of the story-tellers have been brought in from across the region and the country through various grants the library has been awarded. And, judging from the crowd of listeners, the story-tellers have captivated adults as well as children through the years.

Walking through the crowd before the event kicks off, there is a sense of excitement as children, and parents alike, show off the costumes they have either purchased or created at home. And you can tell which parents still enjoy the thrill of creating a costume when you see their very young children all decked out and ready for the costume judges.

As the evening darkens and the costume judging winds down, the crowd thins in the square as costumed children and their escorts wind their way through the downtown goodie stops. Lines move steadily, but constantly grow through the early part of trick-or-treating. Cars are lined through the neighborhoods, much as they are for any of the festivals held downtown. And people seem to never stop walking toward the beginning point in Magdalen Square.

Jackie Choate is retiring this year as director for the Library. She and her staff have created a safe haven for the children, and parents alike, that will have no problem continuing long after the years of building a fun event.

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