By Andrea Arnold
For McBride resident, Warren Jones, Halloween brings more excitement and socializing than Christmas. Jones moved to the valley 47 years ago. He quickly embraced his new community and took on the tradition of handing out candy at Halloween. After a time, he realized that kids love candy, especially big candy. So he decided to go big and hasn’t looked back.
He has already been preparing for this year. 180 full-sized chocolate bars are stored in a cooler, 100 bags each of chips and cheesies are on the shelf alongside 80 bottles of iced tea, leaving only the 4 cases of Crush pop left to purchase.
“I like to buy those cans because the little kids don’t know what cream soda is, or root beer, and they ask for the red pop, or the brown pop,” he said.
By late afternoon he will be set up with all the treats spread out on tables just outside his door awaiting the first rush of guests to pick their favorites. Usually around 7pm there is a lull during the fireworks.
“But then the kids who have already been out here talk to the kids who haven’t so then after the fireworks several more make their way out,” he said.
Jones says he has now had four generations of some families come out. Last year he welcomed 97 people, kids aged 3 months to 82 years old.
He enjoys sharing the Halloween night with others too. A few years before Vern Adams passed, Jones invited him to come hang out for the evening of Oct 31. Jones remembers there were a lot of Spiderman costumes that year. Shortly after one came to the house, in came another much smaller version. Adams reached out, picked up the tiny superhero causing him to tread air and said, “Hey there Spiderman, you’ve already been here!” In response the small boy took off his mask, revealing his true identity and firmly declared he had not. “Well then, you must be Spiderman 2.” Jones remembered a time when his friend Jack Snider would show up at his door on November 1st, to help clean up the leftovers. One year Jones figures he ate 25 chocolate bars in one sitting, and later regretted it.
Jones sees the occasion as a chance to connect with the kids, as well as their parents. As a result of this connection, he’s never been on the receiving end of any nasty practical jokes.
“Treat the kids good, and give them treats. They will treat you good,” he said.
One of those “kids” Krista Cunningham, recently returned to the valley with her family.
“I used to go there as a kid,” Cunningham said. “And now we will take our little ones out to hear his stories.”
The Whelpton family is one of the families who make the visit as a multi-generational group. “Our whole family looks forward to our annual trip to trick or treat at Warren Jones’ on
Halloween- from the school children all the way up to Grandpa,” they said. Jana MacMaster also said she loves not only his generosity but also the joy he displays to each person at the door.
Jones loves seeing the homemade costumes. It’s not just the kids either.
“Some kids never grow up,” he said.
Last year 11 of the adults were in costume, even the 82-year-old was dressed up.
Jones will continue this way of helping kids enjoy the season of being kids and enjoying treats as long as he is able, and his definition of kid is broad.
“No one is too old to come out,” he said.