- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 31, 2001

Many local residents say terrorism, anthrax and government warnings won't derail tonight's Halloween fun. But others apparently have been spooked by Attorney General John Ashcroft's statement Monday that during the next week "there may be additional terrorist attacks on the United States."
City officials in Seat Pleasant and District Heights told WRC-TV (Channel 4) last night that they are discouraging residents from participating in such traditional Halloween activities as trick-or-treating.
While the crisis atmosphere may keep some revelers indoors, law-enforcement agencies in Alexandria, the District and Montgomery County are gearing up for a full-blown Halloween.
"Halloween is on in Alexandria," said Amy Bertsch, a spokeswoman for Alexandria Police. "We're going to have additional police presence [tonight] to increase our visibility on streets."
Police are encouraging parents to "take the same precautions this year as we encourage them to take every year," Miss Bertsch said.
Parents should keep an eye out for any suspicious candy given to their children and make sure young children going trick-or-treating are accompanied by adults or an older responsible child.
"We also want parents to make sure no candy is eaten while trick-or-treating," Miss Bertsch said. "Parents should throw away all unwrapped candy."
Those worried about sending their children out to knock on doors should check local malls and schools for alternative Halloween events, she said.
"There are other ways to dress up and celebrate Halloween," she said.
For example, Landmark Mall in Alexandria is going ahead with its annual haunted house from 7 to 11 p.m. The mall, at 5801 Duke St., is "being cautious but not overly cautious," said Kelly Brown, a mall spokeswoman.
A balloonist and magician will be on hand for the fright night festivities tonight at Arundel Mills Mall in Hanover, Md. And children are encouraged to show up in costume for trick-or-treating store to store and competitions for prizes and candy, a mall spokesman said.
Fear of terrorism didn't disrupt a haunted house put on last night at Catholic University of America in Northeast D.C. "Having a safe place for kids from the Brookland neighborhood to go and celebrate Halloween was more important than anything else," said Chris Harrison, a university spokeswoman.
For adults celebrating Halloween, the Washington Regional Alcohol Program is sponsoring "SoberRide," offering free taxi rides to would-be drunken drivers throughout the Capital region. Between 8 p.m. and 4 a.m. tonight, those celebrating with alcohol are encouraged to call 800/200-TAXI.
Montgomery County police "want people to maintain what they normally would do on Halloween," said David Baker, a spokesman for county police's community outreach program. "We do want people to be a bit more vigilant, but that's normal on Halloween."
A list of precautions parents should take with their trick-or-treating children is being circulated at shopping centers and posted on the police Web site at www.co.mo.us.
The list includes staying in your neighborhood to trick-or-treat, never allowing children to approach a home without lights, wearing reflective clothing and carefully inspecting every piece of candy.
Police in the District also posted a list of precautions on their Web site at mpdc.dc.gov. The department is asking people to observe the level of caution customary and appropriate for any Halloween, said Sgt. Joe Gentile.

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