New business owners add a literary twist to trick-or-treating, bringing smiles to children’s faces

By Camille DeVaul and Christianna Marks

NORTH COUNTY — The streets of Downtown Paso Robles were filled with families trick-or-treating at local businesses for the Paso Robles Main Street Association’s annual Safe and Fun Halloween. 

Downtown merchants were ready for the fun with plenty of candy to hand out, and in the center of the park, the Downtown Witches were ready for their close-up at the Holiday House. Streets were closed off to cars from 11th to 13th Street, offering a safe and exciting return of Halloween to Downtown Paso Robles.

New owners of Spare Time Books, Clio Bruns and Carla Cary, experienced their first Safe and Fun Halloween on Tuesday night. But, rather than handing out candy, they fittingly offered children’s books to their trick-or-treaters. 

Fun and Safe Halloween in Downtown Paso Robles. Photos by Camille DeVaul

“We figured there was so much candy already being passed around, and we wanted to do something that was sweet for the mind and not so much the teeth,” explained Cary.

“Books are a treat for the mind,” added Burns. 

The two new downtown business owners enjoyed the children’s reactions to picking out a new book, and they are already looking forward to next year.

“Next year I think we will a little more prepared and have two carts of books instead,” said Burns.

The two friends took ownership of Spare Time Books earlier this year. Since April, they have been renovating the bookstore that first opened its doors in the 1980s. Documenting the process on social media, they have gained thousands of followers from all over the world and have become a local favorite. 

“It’s encouraging to see how many kids love the books,” says Cary. “We had some other Main Street [Association] businesses come and say that the books are what they were most excited about so that means a lot to us.”

In the next town over, families filled Main Street in Templeton for their annual trick-or-treating extravaganza. Main Street businesses were ready with candy and it was truly a small-town Halloween.

Trick or Treating on Main Street in Templeton. Photos by Derek Luff

Atascadero got into the Halloween spirit early by kicking off its Halloween festivities on Saturday, Oct. 28, with Charles Paddock Zoo’s Annual Zoo Boo. Little kiddos and their families dressed in their adorable, creepy, and fun costumes and showed up to hang out with all the animals. 

“Zoo Boo was wonderful, and everyone who attended truly enjoyed the event. Many families and children were dressed up and enjoyed the “not-too-scary” Haunted House and the Hay Maze too,” said Director of Community Services & Promotions Terrie Banish.

Zoo Boo was followed up by the return of the second Annual Trunk or Treat in the Sunken Gardens on Sunday, Oct. 29. The event, which brought in tons of local littles and their families, was put on by a group of local Atascadero churches.

But the ghoulish fun didn’t stop there. Halloween night, the party continued with Trick or Treat on Entrada. Local businesses showed up to provide a fun and safe place for the community to roll in and show off their best costumes while having a great time.  

“It has been really cool to see all the kids out and about in all their costumes. I love it. It makes me so happy,” said Michelle Cendro, owner of Masons. “I just appreciate that Atascadero does this for the kids because it’s so fun. It’s safe. It’s a nice place for everybody to come, and I love that about our town.”

On top of a bunch of local businesses lining Entrada to hand out candy, there was also a haunted house for brave souls to wander into, and Traffic Records hit the street to DJ some delightfully spooky tunes.

“It’s always a beautiful, powerful experience watching our community come together in this very wholesome, family-oriented manner,” said Traffic Records owner Manuel Barba of the night’s fun.

Which costume is your favorite? Did you get your favorite candy? We hope you had a fun and memorable Halloween this year.

Fun and Safe Halloween in Downtown Paso Robles. Photos by Camille DeVaul