WILLIAMSVILLE (WKBW) The halls of Erie Community College were transformed on Saturday and filled with plenty of candy-loving children for the 8th annual "Safe and Seen Halloween" put on by the American Red Cross.
"What it is is a chance for kids to come in and trick or treat, indoors, warm, safe, dry. We have our sponsors and volunteers here to set it up like you would going down the street. You ring a doorbell, get some candy," Jay Bonafede of the Red Cross said.
And hundreds of kids and their parents came out, young and old, dressed as superheroes and princesses, mickey and minnie mouse to big bird. It is an alternative way to celebrate Halloween, what organizers call the best of both worlds.
"There's obviously safety tips you can take to make traditional trick or treating a little bit safer, but a lot of parents don't want to do that anymore. They don't want the kids walking around the neighborhood in the dark, so here's and opportunity to do traditional trick or treating, during the day, indoors in a controlled atmosphere," Bonafede added.
"This is our first Halloween thing, so a nice easy way into it. I'm sure we'll still go out on Halloween night, but this is good for the little guy, because he'll probably be asleep by the time that one comes around," parent Kevin Cornwell said, referencing his infant son dressed up as a monster.
But community events like this are far from the only thing the Red Cross does. This time last year, many of these same volunteers were preparing to deal with the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy.
"We were in response mode. This was on a Saturday on the Monday we were in full response mode, ready if it were to hit locally. And then as we discovered where the damage actually hit, we went into mobilization mode and started to send people right away," Bonafede said.
All proceeds from Satruday's event will go directly to the Red Cross Disaster Relief fund.