CAMDEN—For the last 30 years, Janet Halsey has lived on Pearl Street in Camden and has been handing out candy for trick-o-treaters for Halloween. But more than a decade ago, residents of Pearl Street began to see a significant jump in the number of costumed revelers visiting their neighborhood. With its safe sidewalks and inviting, suburban neighborhood, Pearl Street—through word of mouth — became a hot spot, the place to seek candy for Halloween, prompting the Camden Police Department to close off the mile-long street to traffic for several hours each October 31.
Now, each year, approximately 1,200 children and teens take to Pearl Street with their pillowcases and plastic pumpkins and for residents, that typically adds up to spending about $100 on candy, a prohibitive expense for those who live on a fixed income.
For the last nine years, Halsey and other volunteers, Jane LeFleur, Pam Elliot, and Lori and Chris Van Dusen have been collecting candy to distribute to Pearl Street residents in advance of Halloween to ease the burden.
“My neighbor has a clicker for every piece of candy that goes out the door and for the last four or five years, that number has gone up to more than 1,000,” said Halsey.
“I love it, but not everyone loves it because it’s expensive,” said Elliot. “In Belfast, Cedar Street is like our Pearl Street for Halloween, but they receive assistance from the Belfast Area Chamber of Commerce; whereas we rely on our community to donate some candy.”
Halsey said for the last several years the new owners of Clean Bee Laundry in the Reny’s Plaza, Ryan and Candace Lawrence, of Camden, took over the initiative from the previous owners to serve as a drop-off point for candy.
“I’ll pop in there a couple days a week before Halloween and pick up the candy, then we, volunteers will let the residents of Pearl Street know that if they need any more candy, to come down to my house and pick it up,” said Halsey.
Pearl Street is closed at 5 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. American Legion Post 30 offers their lot at the corner of Pearl Street and John Street for trick-or-treat parking.
For more information on the Candy Drive, visit: Pearl Street Halloween.
Kay Stephens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org