White Street Candy Bank offers everyone a sweet deal

Friday, October 19, 2018

White Street Candy Bank is now accepting donations.

Candy bank organizers Mark Hughes, Steve Beacham and Jerri Stevens reported that they’re already taken in candy to make Halloween special for all the kids who come to Eureka Springs to trick or treat.

Last year, Hughes said, the candy bank raised more than 300 pounds of candy that was distributed to neighbors on the Historic Upper Loop.

“That was donated to 45 different people or households,” Hughes said. “It was mixed up and placed into five-pound bags, and each household received 15 pounds to start with. Some of them came back to get replenished, as they ran out during the event.”

In addition to that, Beacham said, the candy bank received 300 gift bags containing an art project. Beacham said he hopes to see even more donations this year, saying the candy bank has been a game changer for those who live on or near White Street. The neighborhood is expecting more than 1,000 trick or treaters, Beacham said.

“Lots of people in town who don’t have kids coming to their houses are donating candy for up here,” Beacham said. “Last year, we had people who just gave us money, and right before Halloween we bought bulk candy.”

Before the candy bank started, Beacham said, some people didn’t understand how much the neighbors were spending on candy each year.

“They didn’t realize what a burden it is to have 1,100 kids come for candy,” Beacham said. “We had houses that turned their lights off almost immediately, and now they stay open.”

“It’s hard on them,” Stevens said. “It’s a financial hardship for a few people in the community.”

Though it’s called the White Street Candy Bank, Hughes said, anyone on the Historic Upper Loop can collect candy.

“It’s the whole upper loop, because that’s the Halloween route,” Hughes said.

What makes Halloween so special on that route, he said, is how everyone in the community gets involved.

“It’s not one of those things where parents drop the kids off,” Hughes said. “The parents are engaged. Even if they don’t dress up with the kids, they stay with the kids. People put so much thought and energy into their costumes.”

“It is more like a family event,” Stevens said.

Beacham said the event has a safe, small-town vibe, saying he’s been working with Mayor Butch Berry to ensure that’s true. This year, Beacham said, eight police officers will be on duty during Halloween. The officers will help cut down on the traffic, Beacham said.

“The patrolling did help last year,” Stevens said.

Hughes said he keeps a running total of who donated what and makes sure to give everyone credit for their contribution.

“Everybody understands what the mission is. They understand why they’re giving candy,” Hughes said. “It has become a festive local event. It’s still very nostalgic, almost like the Halloween of your childhood for me.”

To drop off donations, stop by Regalia or Oscar’s Cafe during business hours.

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