‘Nightmare on Jackson’ even more popular

HARLINGEN — They ran out of candy — again.

The city’s “Nightmare on Jackson” was so popular last year that downtown district businesses and city agencies operating the trick-or-treating on Halloween Night ran out of candy when an estimated 4,000 people showed up.

Despite quite detailed plans and a huge increase in candy stock, it happened again.

“Did you have enough candy?” asked Parks and Recreation Department board member Shannon Sparks at a meeting Thursday.

“No,” answered Lara Di Paolo, the department’s recreation supervisor.

“Is there ever enough candy?” asked board chair Adele Clinton.

City Hall officials estimate the turnout for the trick-or-treating this year in the city’s historic downtown numbered 6,000 children and just as many adult chaperones, or 12,000 people.

“We bought more candy, the businesses bought more candy, the departments bought more candy and we still ran out,” said Javier Mendez, parks and recreation director. “It was about 7:15 or 7:20 when several departments were shutting down because they didn’t have any more candy.”

The crowd at Nightmare on Jackson, city hall officials believe, was the largest ever at a City of Harlingen event with the exception of Freedom Fest, Mendez told the board.

“We probably will be talking about different ways to spread out the candy, allocate money for candy, sponsorship for different things, possibly,” Di Paolo said. “And talking about how we can keep it family-friendly.”

Di Paolo said one thing event organizers may look at is moving up the start time of trick-or-treating which has been scheduled from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Halloween Night. She suggested a 5 to 8 p.m. schedule or even a 5 to 7 p.m. time frame.

The popularity of the Halloween Night event has exploded since it moved from Rangerville Park to downtown last year.

The event this year featured a costume parade, a haunted house and food trucks.