NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - The annual Scare On The Square celebration in Downtown Nacogdoches, where costumed families walk the brick streets, is a great place to find out why people love Halloween.
"Cause we're still kids inside," said Michael Ayers, who has been celebrating in a big way for 22 years.
"Because it's fun to dress up," said Alesha Singleton, who was dressed in an elaborate witch costume.
"It gives kids the chance to use their imagination," said another costumed adult.
According to the National Retail Federation, Halloween is the second highest grossing holiday after Christmas. Nielson Research reports 600-million pounds of candy will be purchased, despite its rising cost.
Pounds of treats were given away to hundreds of children by downtown merchants. As one child yelled "Trick or Treat," the merchant looked worried. Turning to her partner she asked, "We aren't running out are we?"
The average consumer spends about $75 dollars on decorations, costumes and candy. Heather Williamson isn't average. " Probably any where from $500 - $ 1000 a year," said Williamson. " I decorate my house for Halloween all year long. I once rented a river boat once for 120 people. We all wore costumes. It was great."
Halloween is more than a children's holiday.
"I'm the grandma and I do it so the kids can have fun," said costumed Jackie Vanostrand.
"For 50 years I raised 5 kids and we had the biggest Halloween. We had lots of fun times. We made the most of it," said Barbara Krauskops, costumed in a bright orange witch costume.
And kids appreciate the willingness. "So their children don't feel left out and scared," said one little girl accompanied by her family.
There's plenty to be scared about. The National Retail Federation reports two and half million zombies are wondering around.
And people pay good money to walk through haunted houses.
A goblin used a chain saw to scare participants and create interest in the Nacogdoches Jaycee Haunted House.
"And you know, just being scared. Everybody loves being scared whether they like to admit it or not," said Jaycee, Ronnie Henson.
Thank goodness there are the old favorites like a cute, little... "Pirate," said one little child. And grownup pirates aren't so bad either. One adult did his best to look and act like Johnny Depp and refused to leave his character. "I don't have a house. I have a ship," he said.
Some say Halloween is going to the dogs. Pooches were placed in costumes, including a surfing dog. So were babies. Baby lambs and Minnie Mouse were popular. Neither four legged canines or baby crawlers have much to say in the matter. Just remember, they both share the same safety rule. "Definitely, no chocolate," advised Allisa Daniels, with the Nacogdoches Animal Shelter.
If you're not into Halloween, the best advice is turn out the lights and shut the door. You're far out numbered by those who love to say, "Happy Halloween."