BY LAUREN HENRY
"Brush your teeth," Mary Elizabeth Smith told trick-or-treaters who were downtown Wednesday afternoon for Halloween Happenings.
She gave that advice as she passed out candy to various princesses, goblins, witches and Tim Tebows that passed along on Main Street for the annual downtown Halloween celebration sponsored by Main Street: Greeneville.
"I always encourage that [brushing teeth] ... along with going to see 'Seussiscal.'" Smith will be a bird girl in the upcoming Tusculum Arts Outreach musical production, assisted by the Central Ballet Theatre.
She was downtown with fellow cast members promoting the production, which is set to begin Sunday, Nov. 9. Several cast members sang songs from the musical while the rest handed out cavity-causing chocolates to the costumed children.
"It's so cold the kids all have jackets, and you can't see what the costumes are," Smith said. Still, she said she saw a lot of superheroes, autumn fairies, and several Avengers this year.
Strawberry Shortcake is always a popular costume, according to Smith.
Bryson Lee, two-years-old, walked around the downtown area as a piece of sushi. He kept tugging the round costume off but left it on long enough to win the zero-to-three age group category in the children's costume contest.
His father, Erick Lee broke off a piece of chocolate to give the boy.
"He loves chocolate," he said.
And young Lee wasn't the only one. The downtown was filled with youngsters eager to fill plastic pumpkins or bags with chocolate and other candies, with no visible fear of impending tooth decay.
Many downtown businesses put out signs to let trick-or-treaters know they were participating by supplying Greene County's youth with copious amounts of candy.
However, Greeneville Chief of Police Terry Cannon thought this year's turnout was down from previous Halloweens.
"Parents don't want to get the real little ones out in the cold," Cannon said. He blamed the crisp weather, triggered by Hurricane Sandy, for the smaller crowds.
"Used to be that whole street would be solid," he said pointing to Summer Street.
The weather dipped into the low 40s, with a wind further chilling the brave Halloween celebrators.
The weather did prevent the piano students of Deanne Gray from performing on the steps of the courthouse prior to the costume contest, but the rest of the events continued on schedule.
Jann Mirkov, executive director of Main Street: Greeneville, said she was pleased with the turnout. Unlike Chief Cannon, she thought the crowd was comparable to last year's.
"I had one man getting off the hayride say, 'I think the crowd's bigger this year,'" she said.
Mirkov said the cold probably scared off some trick-or-treaters, but she thought the day was still a success.
"I've seen a lot of smiling people and families," she said.
The Spooky Stories in the Olde Gaol was a returning favorite, along with hayrides on Depot Street and chalk drawing on Main Street.
New this year was the Haunted Highway exhibit at the City Garage Car Museum and the Haunted Hospital at Walters State Community College.
Other festivities included train rides, games, and the Mayfield Cow at Towne Square, "Trunk or Treat" at Asbury United Methodist Church, a fall festival at First Baptist Church, and the children's costume contest.
The Newcomer's Club of Greeneville conducted this year's only children's costume contest, at the County Courthouse at the corner of Main and Depot streets.
In the zero to 3 years category, winners were:
* Conor Muskowitz, 3, son of Liz Dixon and Liam Muskowitz. He was dressed as Jack Frost.
* Bryson Lee, 2, son of Erick and Kristy Lee. He was dressed as a piece of sushi. And
* T.J. Greer, 11-months, son of Ben and Tiffany Greer. He was dressed as a dinosaur.
In the 4 to 6 years category, winners were:
* Amber Seals, 6, daughter of David and Nancy Seals. She was dressed as an autumn fairy.
* Colton McGee, 6, son of Jennifer and Shane McGee. He was dressed as Popeye the Sailor Man. And
* Emma Sauceman, 5, daughter of Jerry and Sabella Sauceman. She was dressed as Daphne from the TV show Scooby Doo.
In the 7 to 9 years category, winners were:
* Abigail Chesnut, 7, daughter of Alex and Sarah Chesnut. She was dressed as a firey Phoenix.
* Masen Flaglor, 8, son of Tom and Susan Flaglor. He was dressed as the head of Abraham Lincoln on a dinner platter. And
* Joseph Fox, 9, son of Belynda Luttrell. He was dressed as a zombie.
In the 10 to 12 years category, winners were:
* Ellie Johnson, 10, daughter of Dave and Becky Johnson. She was dressed as Pippi Longstocking.
* Hanna Johnson, 12, daughter of Dave and Becky Johnson. She was dressed as an autumn fairy. And
* Lexi Humbert, 10, daughter of Eric and Chan Humbert. She was dressed as G-urckel (girl version of the TV show character Steve Urckel).