It's an Otter Halloween at the Capitol

Idaho StatesmanOctober 31, 2013 

Gov. Butch Otter and first lady Lori Otter pose for a photo with children trick-or-treating Thursday outside the Idaho Capitol.

JOHN SOWELL — Idaho Statesman

— Gov. Butch Otter and first lady Lori Otter greeted hundreds of trick-or-treaters Thursday evening in front of the Idaho Capitol.

The Otters spent two and a half hours handing out candy, toothbrushes and dental floss to the children who came out for the annual event. They also posed for photographs with the youngsters.

The candy, which was held in what looked like a wooden pirate's chest, was donated by the State Street Walmart store. The Idaho State Dental Association provided the toothbrushes, while Blue Cross of Idaho gave the dental floss.

"Mostly, it's for fun and celebration," Gov. Otter said. "We get the kids to come out to the Capitol and have some fun. A lot of them go inside to look around, too."

The Otters have hosted the event since Butch Otter became governor in 2007.

And every year, the couple dresses up. Last year, the governor portrayed a Boise State University football linebacker and his wife was a referee. This year, they donned the yellow Nomex shirts and green pants of wildland firefighters.

"We wanted to honor those folks who work so hard to keep us safe," Butch Otter said.

"Come on girls," Lori Otter called out to a group of children waiting in line. She handed them copies of the book "Otis" by Loren Young, a book that stresses the importance of friendship.

The books were donated by the Pearson Foundation in conjunction with its JumpStart, Read for the Record program.

The governor joked with the kids, handing one girl dressed as a witch a Pulaski to substitute for her missing broom.

"What is that?" the girl asked.

"I don't think you'd get very far," the governor said, laughing. "It's got a bad anchor on it."

A Pulaski is a firefighting tool that combines an ax with a type of hoe. It was invented by Ed Polaski, an assistant ranger with the U.S. Forest Service in Northern Idaho. The tool was developed after the August 1910 wildfires that burned 3 million acres of forests in Northern Idaho, northeast Washington and western Montana.

Pulaski saw the need for better firefighting tools and took on the challenge to develop his own. The tool is still used widely today.

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