Trick-or-Treating in Fruitland Park: 2,000 Kids

Image of costumed kids

Sweeeeeeeet!

Fruitland Park — More than 2,000 youngsters showed up in costume for Fruitland Park’s annual Trick or Treat, a special event that has grown over the years to become one of this community’s most anticipated family activities.

Police Chief Terry Isaacs—a little tired after 12 hours on the job—said the annual Halloween event makes for an “all hands on deck” night for the city’s first responders.

Image of police chief and two kids

Chief Isaacs with two kids, and someone’s had too much candy.

“We have every city police office on duty in the city tonight and every one of our volunteer firefighters, along with most of our wives and grown children and some of our friends,” Isaacs said.

Trick or Treat Night—the city’s official designation is a more practical “Halloween”—is a major city event. Streets are blocked off around the Shiloh neighborhood bounded by Miller Street, Poinsettia, Century and Shiloh, police officers assigned to traffic duty and patrols, and area residents buy out the local candy stores and prepare for an onslaught of costumed kiddies.

Jessica and Brian Kubis, who lived on College Ave. for three years before buying a home earlier this year in the Brookstone neighborhood more than a mile away, brought their two daughters back to their old neighborhood to trick or treat.

Image of Commissioner Kelly with kids

Commissioner Kelly and costumed friends.

“This is a big family thing,” Jessica Kubis explained. “The kids get a big kick out of it, it’s a chance for some of the neighbors to show off their Halloween decorations and we get to visit a little,” she said.

“Mostly I like it because it reminds me of the way we did it when I was a kid. Today parents worry a lot, but in Fruitland Park it’s a safe, fun, happy Halloween night for everyone. It’s one of the reasons we live in Fruitland Park,” she said.

Image of mom and two daughters

End of the night, had fun, time to head home.

Chief Isaacs said three officers patrolled the neighborhoods on Kubota vehicles, one more on a bicycle, and volunteer firefighters walked the streets in uniform to help watch over kids and their parents.

Isaacs said police officers passed out more than 1,000 glow sticks before their supply ran out halfway through the night.

“We block off the streets so parents can walk with their kids,” Chief Isaacs said. “It’s much safer than other neighborhoods where parents drive their kids from house to house,” he said.

Isaacs said the cadre of police officers, volunteer firefighters and helpers look forward to Halloween.

“What drew me to Fruitland Park in the first place is the family friendly nature of this community. My kids are grown but there’s something very rewarding about this place. Our attachment to our elementary school, the way we all pitch in for Halloween, the way residents decorate their houses at Christmas time, you don’t see that in America today as much as you did when I was a kid and I like it,” Isaacs said.

Image of Commissioner Kelly

Commissioner Kelly handed out more than 30 pounds of candy

Vice Mayor Sharon Kelly, who was wise enough to bring a comfortable lawn chair, handed out more than 40 pounds of candy at the event. For most of the evening she was surrounded by excited kids and their parents.

“I just like dressing up in a costume,” Ms. Kelly laughed.

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