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Scare on the Square swoops in early this year, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. this Saturday
In this file photo from 2021, Ian Weaver, dressed out as Waldo, right, is where it's at as the universe converges on Baby Yoda for Star Wars fans Gayle Kicklighter, left, and Autumn Disher during the 2021 Scare in the Square in downtown Statesboro. The 2023 Scare on the Square is set for Saturday.

This year, Scare on the Square, which became a morning to early afternoon event two years ago, is occurring earlier in October and sticking to a kid-friendly “Candyland” theme with an emphasis on reading and family fun.

The autumn festival, hosted as always by the Downtown Statesboro Development Authority and with Party Impressions as this year’s main sponsor, happens Saturday, Oct. 14, from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. on East Main Street downtown. Attractions include a costume contest with age brackets for infants to adults plus a “family” category, a hayride, trunk-or-treat and vendors, as well as an actual Candyland game.

“We’re working with our sponsor and working around everyone else’s schedule,” said Main Street Statesboro Manager Elena McLendon. “We saw that Mill Creek was having their event later on and the fair is next week, and there’s Haunted Forest and all of the other community events. … And ours is more Candyland-friendly. That’s our theme; it’s been our theme three years since COVID.”

Children can play the game in the Georgia Southern Business Innovation Group, or BIG, alley and receive candy while engaging also in other fun activities.


Books and Altrusa

“It’s also about reading and literacy,” McLendon said.

She notes that the DSDA has partnered with the Bulloch County Literacy Council and Crystal Simpkins, the Bulloch County Schools early learning and literacy director, to bring the Book Bus, and also partners with Altrusa for the help of the community service club’s volunteers.

Altrusa International of Statesboro is doing most of the registration and the judging for the costume contest and will distribute free books to all of the participants.

“So we’re really pushing literacy – and candy,” McLendon said with a laugh.


Costume contest

The costume contest will be held at City Hall. Registration for the youngest contestants, the 0-3-year-old category, actually begins at 8:30 a.m., a half hour  before the rest of Scare of the Square officially opens.

Contestants must register 30 minutes prior to start time for their age group or category. The ages 0-3 contest will start at 9:30 a.m.; then ages 4-8 at 10 a.m.; ages 9-12 at 10:40 a.m.; ages 13-17 at 11:15 p.m.; ages 18 and up at 11:40 p.m.; and the family contest at 12 p.m. Organizers ask that contestants compete in only one category.


Quiet room

Meanwhile, Word of Mouth Therapy is also contributing to the event by providing a “quiet room” with therapists present with activities for children with special needs.

“So that way families can come if they have a special needs child who needs a little bit more of attention and doesn’t want to be pushed through a line getting candy,” said McLendon.

Various local businesses will distribute treats from trunk-or-treat stations along East Main Street.

The free hayride, provided by Mockingbird’s Turf, will operate from the Synovus Bank parking lot. Various other activities and vendors will be located on the Courthouse Square.

Party Impressions, Galactic Comics, Starbucks, Corks Kettle Corn, CORE Credit Union, Party Harbor, Bulloch County Literacy Council, Jonny Boy Cookies, Three Tree Coffee, Jaxe+Grace Boutique, Pladd Dot Music, El Sombrero, Honey Catering, Bruster’s Ice Cream, Chick-Fil-A, Cindy Lou’s Dos and Wavee Shavee Ice are sponsoring the costume contest prizes.

East Main Street will be closed to through traffic beginning at 7 a.m. for set-up of the event.

“We are celebrating our event in the morning hours for a family friendly environment and we want to encourage everyone to support our small businesses, eat, shop and play downtown,” said Allen Muldrew, executive director of the Downtown Statesboro Development Authority.

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