by Jonathan Weaver
Fresh off trick-or-treating Wednesday night, Kittanning Borough streets will be filled with Halloween fun Thursday night.
Hose Company #1 Fire Chief Gene Stephens said his son and other firehouse children will throw candy from firetrucks as they lead festivities. He said firefighters buy candy via Obade Candy Company, Inc. – just a few blocks from the fire station.
“Whatever (costume) you can think of, it’s here,” Chief Stephens said. “Some years, it seems like you have a lot of kids. Others, it’s a little bit less. I think a lot of that depends on the weather.”
Chief Stephens also was welcoming of families from outside of Kittanning to join in.
“It’s for the kids – I can’t tell where they come from. They come up for a piece of candy, I don’t care where they live or how old they are, Chief Stephens said.
“Everybody’s welcome to come – anybody can attend.”
As well as $1 being given to each costumed participant, cash prizes will be given out to the top two float entries – $250 for first place, $100 for second place thanks to donations from the Kittanning Men’s Club and Kittanning Eagles.
“With what Bugsy’s and the fire department put together with more prize money toward the floats, maybe they’ll be more,” Chief Stephens said. “There’s no theme – make whatever you want to make. Whatever you want to make your float up as, do it.”
Following the annual parade, South Jefferson Street will remain closed so that kids can try to break open a piñata and dance along to the beats of DJ Kevin Kline.
On the busiest day of the year, Bugsy’s Pizza will also be helping out with festivities again this year.
Bugsy’s Pizza Owner Jeff Bowser said Halloween is “one of my favorite holidays.”
“We’re doing a giant piñata again – there’s probably going to be close to 300 pounds of candy in it,” Bowser said. “Plus, there’s going to be a total of 225 (treat bags) by the time we’re done.”
Bowser said this year’s piñata will be an emoji.
Last year, there were five small piñatas, but it posed dangerous to some kids.
In 2003, various athletes’ on the Kittanning Senior High varsity football team took turns whacking a piñata that resembled the Pillsbury Doughboy.
Then-Kittanning Wildcat football Senior Linebacker Shawn Shaner and Starting Quarterback Braydon Toy knocked most of the candy lose for waiting children.
John Graff Insurance Agency, Quad A Tire and H&R Block all donated proceeds for candy.
The junior high football team will conduct a party after the parade at Hose Company #1’s firehall.
Chief Stephens said firefighters from all three Kittanning fire departments will patrol the borough streets during trick-or-treating.
Borough residents who wish to participate in trick-or-treating are asked to turn on porch lights to denote participation and safety.
Kittanning Borough Council President Kim Fox has fond memories of walking through the Halloween parade and even picking out penny candy from Krum’s Market on Union Avenue.
“I absolutely do – I actually lived on Jefferson Street, and did the Halloween parade every year,” Fox said. “If we weren’t in it, we would watch from our upstairs window, but usually I was in the parade.
“Absolutely loved it – trick-or-treat was one of my favorite nights. Still is.”
Now along Hawthorne Avenue, Fox is looking forward to passing out candy in her witch costume and with her dog, in a shark costume.
She praised police officers and firefighters the night of trick-or-treating for their diligent patrol of neighborhood children.
Two years ago, Hose Company #1 Treasurer Earl Kline said that 19 floats or costumes were awarded top cash prizes.
More than $500 in prizes were ultimately awarded for those individuals and groups judged best in their respective categories, with final judging in a staging area inside the firehall to provide safety of participants and those watching the parade.
Chief Stephens hoped one year to be able to attend Ford City’s Halloween parade – which also is held Thursday evening.
The parade begins at 7PM rain-or-shine in front on the Kittanning Hose Company #1 fire station on South Jefferson Street.