Witches, ghouls and goblins are invited to haunt the shops located along Sunset Drive in South Miami during Safe Streets Halloween. October 31 is that magical day when the imagination runs free and perfectly well-behaved children (and adults) turn into monsters or whatever character they find appropriate for the occasion. Halloween, a mystical Celtic autumnal happening that was part celebration and part superstition, has lived on in Western culture for over 2,000 years; dressing up in some sort of costume has always been an essential component of the event.
Halloween revelers are encouraged to “trick-or-treat” at downtown businesses from 4:00P to 7:00P, when Sunset Drive from US 1 to Red Road, will be closed to vehicular traffic. Safe Streets is jointly sponsored by the City of South Miami and the Red Sunset Merchants Association of South Miami (who will supply the “treats” and other goodies).
“Safe Streets Halloween is near and dear to my heart. I remember when we first started this, our kids were little. Now our grandkids are coming,” said event coordinator Hans Huesby. Hans owns Footworks along with wife Laurie. Footworks is a popular, full service sporting goods store located on Sunset Drive near Red Road.
The Merchants Association sees the event as the ideal way for costumed children to safely cadge treats while enjoying the shops and ambiance of South Miami’s downtown business district. Parents are encouraged to dress-up along with their children and enjoy free candy and other activities. Huesby, who annually dons a clown costume, will wield a rather large pair of scissors, offering “haircuts” to parents; something that continues to delight children every year. Splitsville, featuring luxury bowling lanes and fine dining, and Buffalo Wild Wings, a place for wings and sports, will be offering special promotions for trick-or-treaters who stop in to visit them at the Shops of Sunset.
Members of the Footworks team are crafting an idea for a contest that will appropriately honor the more macabre traditions of Halloween. The “Zombie Dash” will be a race to the finish line. However in true Night of the Living Dead fashion, participants will be required to drag one foot on the ground during the entire race or risk being disqualified.
A popular event since the 1980s, Huesby believes that experiences such as Safe Streets Halloween are important to the fabric of the community, “People are looking for places to connect to and the merchants get the chance to provide that while showing-off a little and making people feel welcomed.”
Decades ago, when the idea for the event was first hatched, members of the Red Sunset Merchants Association thought that creating a safe place for children and families to gather was something that could be readily and easily accomplished.
“At that time, no group of merchants was doing what we were doing. We hit upon a great way for kids to trick-or-treat in safety and get lots of candy,” said Huesby.