Tuesday, January 25, 2022

E.L. holds pumpkin walk

October 27, 2000
Elsa Puerner, 4, checks out her stash of candy in Bagel Fragel Deli, 527 E. Grand River Ave. Businesses along Grand River Avenue passed out candy to children Thursday. —

Cows, Winnie the Poohs, angels and devils filled the streets of East Lansing on Thursday for the 11th annual Great Pumpkin Walk.

Hundreds of parents and children in costumes gathered on Grand River Avenue from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. The trick-or-treaters went store-to-store to the 62 businesses that were handing out candy between Albert Avenue and Abbott Road.

The event was started 11 years ago with the help of Terri Bettinger, owner of Bagel Fragel Deli, 527 E. Grand River Ave.

“I have four children that went trick-or-treating back when it was scary to send them out in an area alone,” Bettinger said. “This is a safe way to help them trick-or-treat.”

Bettinger dressed up as a hippie and passed out candy to kids at Bagel Fragel.

“It’s going really good,” she said. “It’s nice to see the families meeting outside and then going trick-or-treating together.”

Milie Harpstead-Funk, an 8-year-old dressed like a cat, said the candy was the best part of the Great Pumpkin Walk.

“She does it for the candy,” said Andrea Funk, Milie’s mom. “This is also a good way to give the costume a dry run before Halloween.”

Milie wasn’t the only kid who thought getting candy was what the Great Pumpkin Walk is all about.

“My favorite part is getting all the candy,” said 8-year-old Marshall Clark, who was dressed like a redcoat.

Not all the kids came for the candy, though - some came just to hang out with their friends.

“It is fun walking around and spending time with my friends,” said 12-year-old Levi Wolf, who was dressed as used chewing gum.

Lauren Ragan, 13-year-old who dressed as a witch from Macbeth, said Halloween is the best holiday.

“I like to keep in the spirit of Halloween,” she said. “I wouldn’t miss this for anything.”

Five-year-old Sydnee Zienta, who came as a flapper, spent the evening not only collecting candy, but checking out all the other costumes.

“Some of them are scary,” she said. “The Scream costume is the scariest, but the Cinderella costume is the best.”

Parents also felt the Great Pumpkin Walk was a good idea.

“This is nice and safe,” said Amy Zienta, Sydnee’s mom. “You don’t have to worry about poisoned candy.”

Other parents said they came to see the kids enjoy themselves.

“We came out for the kids, so they could have fun,” said Jason Engle, a father of two.

Many local merchants participated in the Great Pumpkin Walk.

Nick Bodary, an employee of Steve & Barry’s University Sportswear, 515 E. Grand River Ave., said it is a good opportunity for potential customers to see the store and possibly come back later and shop.

Jeff Powers, the manager of Jersey Giant Submarine Sandwiches Inc., 529 E. Grand River Ave., said the store has participated in the event for the last five years.

“It’s a good thing for the community,” he said. “It brings people into the store that wouldn’t usually come in, even if it’s just for the candy.”

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