Southern Boulevard in Hunts Point was packed with hyper little fairies, monsters and clowns yesterday as children held out bags to local businesses yelling “Trick-or-Treat!” with eager faces waiting to see which candy would drop in.
Employees of local cell phone shops, clothing stores, and bodegas stood outside their stores’ entrances with large bags of candy, waiting for trick-or-treaters to come by. “We bought 40 bags of candy today,” said Jose Pinero, 28, who works at Forever clothing store. “We’ve been waiting for the kids all day.”
And the kids did not disappoint. They dragged parents and older siblings down the sidewalk, past policemen stationed on every block, eager to fill plastic pumpkin-shaped baskets full of treats. “I’ve handed candy to at least 400 kids already today,” said Dayton Turnquest, 24, of Ricky’s Super Store. “Some of these kids don’t have a lot of good things going on, so it’s nice to make them smile.”
Parents also appreciate the efforts by business owners. Candace William, 31, of Hunts Point, will only shop at stores that hand out candy on Halloween. She thinks the least businesses can do is give local kids some candy on Halloween.
In Hunts Point, it’s important that stores hand out candy, especially since many residents don’t feel comfortable trick-or-treating at residences. “No one goes door-to- door anymore,” said Mariceli Villanueva, 37, who held tight to her nine-year-old son (he was wearing a mask). “I wouldn’t take my son to a house I didn’t know.”
Just 10 years ago, Ivan Martinez, 28, loved to ask for candy at houses and see his neighbors. He now feels like people are so transient that he has no idea who his neighbors are. “Things have changed,” he said, boarding a bus to a neighborhood north of Hunts Point with his wife and three kids. “Everything felt safer then.”
And some businesses benefit from the increased visibility on Halloween. Dominic Torres reminded parents, “This candy came from the Underground,” as he handed lollipops to the kids bought by the sportswear store he works for.
One business on Southern Boulevard, the shopping center of Hunts Point, thrives on Halloween. “We practically sold out of kids’ costumes this year,” said Mayko Matos, 19, manager of Ricky’s Super Store. “This is one of our biggest times of the year.” He added that the best-selling girls costume of 2011 was Jesse from Toy Story and little boys overwhelmingly went for Captain America.