LV celebrates Halloween

Fairies, ninjas, monsters and Disney characters directed their bouncy footsteps toward Old Town La Verne shops on Halloween afternoon and traded three words for their treasured candy.

The Old Town “safe trick-or-treating” event, which was held from 2 to 5 p.m., has been around for so many years that no one can say exactly when it began, but the parents and kids who come to the shops each year enjoy the small town atmosphere of the past.

Monica and Mando Marquez brought their two young children, 5-year-old Evan dressed as a star trooper and 2-year-old Evany as Minnie Mouse, to the downtown shops.

After moving to La Verne just five months ago, the Marquezes enjoyed getting to know their new neighbors and community.

“It’s very nice because it’s in the daytime and the business owners are passing out the candy, so we know it’s safe and we’re getting to know them at the same time,” Mando Marquez said. “We love this small community feeling and this may become a tradition for us.”

Smiling shop owners lined the store-fronts with mounds of hunted candy that eagerly waited to fill the children’s bags.

“The best is seeing the itty bitty ones in their costumes,” said Janet Manley, owner of the Candle Linen & Soap Factory. “Even the teeny ones in the strollers who don’t know what’s going on.”

Manley and her store manager Pat Lewis smiled and reminisced about an adorable 4-year-old fairy who came to the shop earlier in the day.

After participating four years in a row, they agreed that the Old Town event is special because it’s all about the younger kids having a great Halloween experience.

“The hometown feeling is what brought us out,” Judy Argelander said as she ushered her 8-year-old twins, Jennifer and Jessica, and their neighbor around Old Town. “It’s a great way to meet the local business owners and really extend the holiday.”

Many of the costumes turned heads for their cute or creative appearances.

Jessica Argelander was dressed all in pink and described herself as a “drama queen.”

Ashley Crowell, 8, accompanied the Argelanders wearing a blue smock, a lanyard and a name badge with a big yellow smiley face on the top.

She was dressed as a Wal-Mart employee.

“It’s a lot of fun seeing all the kids walking by and laughing,” said Michele Cochran, receptionist at La Verne Optometry. “It’s just such a happy, fun atmosphere and it’s always something to look forward to around this time of year.”

Craig Walters is chairman of the board for the Old Town business district.

Walters estimates 20 to 25 merchants participated in the Old Town “safe trick-or-treating” event this year.

Walters remembers the event when he bought the Coffeeberry about 12 years ago, but he can not say when it began exactly.

He has since sold the Coffeeberry but he remains active in the Old Town businesses through the merchant’s association.

Even for seasoned merchants, the Old Town safe trick-or-treating event is exciting year after year and is seen as a way for the community to come together.

“I really like the City of La Verne because of the safety you feel here,” Miss Donuts & Bagel manager Michael Tan said. “We really just like to wish everyone a happy Halloween.”

With the safety, the small town atmosphere and the way the community comes together what more could anyone want?

Every child’s reply: “Candy!”

Angie Gangi can be reached at

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Journalism operations manager at the University of La Verne. Production manager and business manager of the Campus Times.

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