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First came a ninja, then a baby banana, followed by a fairy with flourescent green wings — they all visited a clown sitting on the front porch of her 118 N. Wentz St. home.
For more than three decades, 70-year-old Nancy Ainsworth has donned a costume — from a witch to a clown, from a butterfly to a list of others through the years — to pass out candy to celebrate trick or treat with the children of Wapakoneta.
“I just do it for fun and the kids get a kick out of it,” Ainsworth said. “I remember the fun I used to have when I went trick-or-treating as a child.”
She said she tries to avoid anything that will scare the trick-or-treaters. She had some scary music playing last year and a few of the kids hesitated to come up so she turned it off. She also dressed as a witch a couple of years ago and cackled, which scared the youngsters, so she stopped and tried a different tact.
“I started talking to them and I would tell them I am just an old grandma and not to be afraid,” said Ainsworth, who was adorned with white face make-up on including large red hearts on her cheeks, large red eye lashes and blue hair.
She sat in the middle of the porch, while next to her chair were a pair of oversized toy scissors and near her feet was a pumpkin which played music if she stepped on it.
Moving into the house with her husband, Don, 39 years ago, the couple had a 4-year-old and a 1-year-old at the time and celebrated Halloween by taking the children out. A few years later, she started her dressing up Halloween tradition.
This year proved special for the couple as their son, Jason, his wife, and their young son moved to Wapakoneta so they could participate in their lives again. Their daughter, Sara, now lives in Chicago.
Through the years, the retired Wapakoneta city utility clerk has noticed some changes but none more drastic than the costumes.
“There are not as many hand-made costumes as there used to be,” Ainsworth said. “When I was young they almost all were hand-made and people were lucky if they got a store bought one, now they are almost all store bought and you are lucky if you see any that are hand-made.”
Ainsworth said she intends to keep dressing up and to keep bringing smiles to the faces of children on trick or treat night.