By Donald Wittkowski
Twin brothers Jack and Sean Schofield have distinctive personalities, but when it comes to Halloween, the 6-year-olds definitely think alike.
“Candy,” Jack said excitedly of why he likes Halloween so much.
“I love candy, too,” Sean echoed.
Accompanied by their 8-year-old sister, Genevieve, Jack and Sean collected plenty of candy bars and other sweet stuff on Saturday afternoon while making the rounds at the shops lining Asbury Avenue in downtown Ocean City.
Scores of costumed children descended on Asbury Avenue between Sixth and 11th streets for the business community’s annual Halloween celebration.
It was the second of three major Halloween events in town. The city’s 69th annual Halloween parade kicked off the fun on Thursday night. The final event will be the traditional citywide Halloween trick-or-treating on Monday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
“Ocean City has wonderful family-friendly events,” said Egg Harbor Township resident Linda Schofield, the mother of Genevieve, Jack and Sean.
Genevieve was dressed as Belle, the character from Disney’s animated feature film “Beauty and the Beast.” Jack wore a Batman costume, while Sean was Spider-Man.
One of the first places they stopped for candy was the B&B Department Store, where sales manager Brendan Sarao handed out Twix bars, Kit Kats and Tootsie Pops.
Sarao said Halloween is a good way for the business community to attract more children and families to the downtown area.
“It gets the kids involved,” he said. “Halloween has changed a lot since I was young. I would always get out for trick-or-treating. Now, not a lot of kids get out.”
Faith and Jeff Cubberley, of Egg Harbor Township, brought their 6-year-old son, Colin, and 3-year-old daughter, Maci, to Ocean City’s downtown Halloween celebration for the first time.
“I love Halloween,” exclaimed Maci, who wore an elegant lavender gown to look like Sofia, the animated Disney character who becomes part of a royal family.
Colin was a dressed as a Mutant Ninja Turtle from the Nickelodeon channel. He said Halloween is scary for him, especially when he goes to houses that are decorated with spider webs.
Maci and Colin collected their first bits of candy at Interiors by Joann. Samantha Huck, a store employee, handed out the treats. Huck, who now lives in Somers Point, said Halloween reminds her of her days growing up in Ocean City.
Huck noted that Halloween is another way for Interiors by Joann to strengthen its ties with the local community.
“We do it every year,” she said. “We’re big community people. We’ve been here for over 30 years. We’ll do anything to get people downtown.”
Rhonda Van Wingerden, of Ocean City, escorted her costumed daughters Lily, 10, and Hannah, 5, around town for some treats. Van Wingerden said the Halloween celebration is a good time to meet up with friends, take care of some shopping and let the children have fun.
“Every time we do this, we see something new ” she said. “We really appreciate it.”
Rebecca Beall, of Marmora, said her 11-year-old daughter, Ella, and 8-year-old son, Max, always enjoy trick-or-treating on Asbury Avenue. Ella was dressed as a wicked witch, while Max was in a motocross riding suit and helmet.
“They’re more excited about this than Halloween,” Beall said.
Samir Kelly, 7, of Ocean City, may have been the bravest Halloweener on Saturday. For his costume, he chose to wear the No. 88 jersey of Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant. His mother, Brandi Kelly, joked that Samir was getting an earful from Ocean City’s Philadelphia Eagles fans.
“We’re getting picked on all the way down the street,” she said, laughing.
Samir, though, didn’t seem to mind. He was too busy filling his Halloween bag with goodies.
“I like the candy,” he said.