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Neighbors gear up to close Vermont Avenue for West Asheville Halloween fun

Photo: WLOS staff

Neighbors in West Asheville are coming together to assemble the sixth closing of Vermont Avenue for trick-or-treating this Halloween.

“Halloween can be very overwhelming to the residents who hand out thousands of pieces of candy each year," said Karen Ostergaard, a Vermont Avenue resident and event organizer. "We collect candy donations at local businesses and purchase candy with what is left over from our online fundraising."

"Safety is the first goal but we also want to allow the residents of Vermont Avenue to enjoy the night," she continued.

Vermont Avenue in the heart of West Asheville off of Haywood Road will be barricaded and manned by volunteers. Organizers say they do this to assure safety and convenience for trick-or-treaters and residents.

Around Halloween, Vermont changes from a tree-lined avenue to a Halloween wonderland. Many residents go all-out, decorating their homes in spooky style.

In past years, visitors have seen an inflatable animatronic dragon, an outdoor double feature of "The Birds" and "The Nightmare Before Christmas," and a Halloween duo distributing candy from their doorstep, while holding hands and dressed as the spooky Grady twins from "The Shining."

Residents who join in the festivities often give away hundreds of dollars in candy as thousands wander the avenue for Halloween goodies. And the community lends a hand: Sunny Point Cafe on Haywood Road accepts candy donations for Vermont residents.

Organizers also accept event sponsors to help supplement the residents who are hit hardest, providing treats for thousands of costumed children.

They also say donations are also needed for the rising cost of getting the permit from the city to close the street. And they need volunteers to man the barricades: guiding cars to better parking options, opening for residents and EMS vehicles, and more.

Groups are encouraged to work together on barricade shifts, and costumes and decorations are welcomed.

Organizers say local businesses and artists are adding to 2017's volunteer raffle: every volunteer will receive a free tube float on the French Broad River from French Broad Outfitters, and the chance to win various restaurant and store discount cards, t-shirts, and artwork from local artists.

Halloween 2017 is on a Tuesday, and all through traffic will shut down on Vermont Avenue starting at 5:30 p.m., resuming at 9 p.m. During this time, only emergency vehicles will be allowed access.

To minimize traffic and confusion for volunteers, residents and visitors for the evening are encouraged to park outside of the closure or to arrive and depart outside of closure hours.

Trick-or-treaters are encouraged to walk or bike to the area, as parking is limited. Parking might be available at West Asheville Park, on side streets, or around Haywood Road.

If you want to volunteer, donate, or become a business sponsor, click here.

If you have a question, organizers can be contacted through email at westashevillewatch@gmail.com.

Follow the event on Facebook here.

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