Invasion of the children

By Keith Strange Staff Reporter

October 31, 2013

Thousands of ghouls, ghosts and goblins will converge on Mount Airy’s Main Street in just a few hours, and downtown merchants say they can’t wait.

From 3 p.m., until 5 p.m., many businesses will forego normal operations to participate in what has become a Halloween favorite: Trick or treating on Main Street.

Paul Stroup, owner of Mayberry Toy Company, said that last year the store had been open only a short time, but he is looking forward to a second year of participation.

“We love it,” he said. “Last year we couldn’t believe the number of people who came out.”

For Stroup, anything that brings children to his toy store is a good thing.

“Kids are our number one customer, so anything that involves children we love,” he said. “So we are going to be out there with bells on.”

But Stroup stopped short of saying he would be in costume.

“I’m ugly enough as it is, and can’t cover it up all the time,” he said.

A long-time participant, Tilley’s Custom Frame Shop Manager Dennis Williams, said first-timers at the event will be awe-struck by the number of children who turn out for the event.

“It’s huge,” he said. “As a matter of fact, I’m going out right now to buy more candy because we’ve actually run out before.

“Last year, we went through eight bags of candy with 1,300 pieces in each bag,” Williams added. “That’s 10,400 pieces of candy.”

He said he wouldn’t trade the experience for the world.

“It’s fun to see the kids, and we know they’re a lot safer trick or treating this way than the way we did it when we were kids,” he said. “Actually, we believe that’s why the parents bring them.”

Mayberry On Main co-owner Darrel Miles said he has been participating in the annual rite since his store has been in operation.

“We’ve done it as many years as we’ve been here, seven or eight years,” he said. “Now, we don’t do a lot of business, but there are certainly a lot of children.

“They’re taking candy as fast as I can hand it out,” Miles added. “There are literally thousands of kids who will be here.”

Miles said he estimates he has spent between $75 and $100 on candy in preparation for the children.

“I could have spent much more than that,” he added, “but it’s just as much fun for us as it is for them. We’re going to put out speakers and have spooky music playing and I will probably be out on the sidewalk.

“It’s not good for sales, because you can almost hear the tourists leaving as the kids start arriving, but it’s a fun couple of hours one day a year.”

Reach Keith Strange at or 719-1929.