Re: story on page 5 of the Oct. 22 edition of The NEWS reporting the Coombs Candy Walk has been canceled this year.
The Coombs Halloween Candy Walk began roughly 40 years ago by our local fire department as a way to bring the community together to enjoy a safe and fun filled evening with fellow residents. It has grown and evolved over the years and the responsibility of the event has been passed among the local organizations. Our Arrowsmith community is small, but it is spread over a large area and this makes it difficult for the kids to trick or treat from house to house. Approximately 13 years ago it ran into some difficulty when it experienced a lack of interested organizers and it looked as though it might not continue.
As a child raised in the community, who had been allowed to enjoy the annual Halloween celebration, I felt the need to return the kindness and generosity I had been shown by those previous volunteers. I requested to take over the organization of the Candy Walk to ensure its survival. Each year my family, along with a core group of volunteers spent the months leading up to the event, fundraising in various ways. We get huge support from our local businesses and non profit organizations. Without their generosity it would not be possible. We, with a handful of others, ran and organized this wonderful community event from 2000-2011. Our family enjoyed the 11 years of Halloween fun in Coombs and thought it was time to pass it on to someone else.
The Candy Walk has evolved from a simple bonfire with hotdogs and hot chocolate to a seven station themed candy walk with a haunted house, cake walk and fireworks finale. In keeping with the history of the event, it was located where it began, at the Coombs Fair Grounds generously donated by the Arrowsmith Agricultural Association (behind the Coombs General Store). We supplied a concession stand stocked with hotdogs and drinks such as pop, coffee and hot chocolate (all donated from Thrifty Foods, QF, Qualicum & Parksville) and Save on Foods). Throughout the years local community organization creates the haunted house, while volunteers looked after the Little Goblin Cake Walk (donated from The Old Country Market). In the candy walk there are a minimum of two people per section acting out the chosen theme for the evening and handing out candy to the children as they pass through. We would have approximately 50 volunteers help us create this magical night.
We have experienced great success each year. On average, we would see approximately 500 children plus parents. We feel thankful to have been able to give the local Arrowsmith community families a night full of fun and excitement without the danger of trick or treating on dimly lit rural roads. We hope someone will embrace this magical event in the years to come and enjoy it as much as we did.