Getting in the Halloween spirit: Seen at the annual children’s parade through downtown Wednesday were, photos clockwise from left: Pippa Carson, 3, a colorful witch; busy bumblebee Schuyler Szemplinski, 2, with her father Mark, enjoys a treat, and Arden Arnold, left and Josie Feder, both 4, came to the parade with their mothers, who work together at Earthplace. / Photos by Gretchen Webster
Photo at left: Everett Skalicky, with twin brother Caleb, gives the high sign to parade passersby, accompanied by their mother Kristine. Right: Mike Ventorino, owner of Rye Ridge Deli, passes out treats to little tricksters. 
Photos left to right: Nellie Thornton, 1½, was a plump little pumpkin (or is she a tomato?) at the annual Children’s Halloween Parade, with her dad, Kyle. Easy rider Blake Walker takes in the action on Veterans Green. Nora Wilkinson, 3, was accompanied at the parade by grandfather Joe, who got into the spirit of things dressed up as a construction worker.

By Gretchen Webster

WESTPORT — Warm fall weather cast a spell over downtown Wednesday, and like magic, princesses and pumpkins, gremlins and ghosts, and all kinds of creatures, great and small, took to the streets for a spirited celebration.

Hundreds of costumed characters descended on Main Street for the annual Children’s Halloween Parade, proceeding through downtown in search of treats … with maybe a few tricks along the way. The event was organized by the town’s Parks and Recreation Department, the Westport Downtown Association and Westport Police Athletic League.

Along the parade path, merchants handed out candy and other small treats. The marchers moved up Main Street to Avery Place and onto Myrtle Avenue, ending with a gathering on Veterans Green.

Photo at left: With a pot full of candy, Helen Cusa, of Brown Harris Stevens real estate, offers treats to youngsters on parade Wednesday. Right: Samantha  Ventorino, 15, aboard a unicorn, helped hand out treats at Rye Ridge Deli.
Photos left to right: Erika, left, and Alexandra Solop scared up unique costumes for the parade. Handing out lollipops at the Westport Museum of History and Culture was Nicole Carpenter, director of programs and collections. Cousins Camila Achondo, 3, left, and Bennett Gotfried, 9, looked for treats together.

At the green, children could climb into a Westport firetruck or police car, and inspect an ambulance. Music was provided by Kenny Michaels.

Freelance writer Gretchen Webster, a Fairfield County journalist and journalism teacher for many years, was editor of the Fairfield Minuteman newspaper for 10 years and teaches journalism at Southern Connecticut State University.

Children, joined by a spirited crowd of parents, grandparents and guardians, gathered Wednesday afternoon at the start of the annual Children’s Halloween Parade near the downtown corner of Main Street and Post Road East.