- The Washington Times - Friday, November 1, 2002

Parents tried to carry on the traditional Halloween door-to-door, trick-or-treat activities on D.C.-area streets last night while they and law-enforcement agents keeping their eyes peeled to make sure children wouldn't be confronted with any harmful tricks.
"We're trying to make it feel like an old-time Halloween, but it's hard," said Theresa Moller, a resident of the Capitol Hill area. "The door-to-door concept is going out the door. It's fading."
The mother brought her daughter out early to knock on the doors of familiar, nearby homes. They planned on heading to the Halloween party in Lincoln Park following a brief trip around the neighborhood. Mrs. Moller said she's always been cautious with her daughter on Halloween nights, but has taken steps to "move things up and simplify" in response to the sniper attacks.
A week after two men were arrested in connection with 13 sniper attacks, parents and police officials were relieved that children could trek from door to door with fewer worries. But concerns linger that danger could come without cause as it did in those shootings from child abductors, thieves or violent criminals using costumes to shield their identities kept some treading lightly.
Arrests of the accused "serial snipers" have mostly dissipated the fear parents and children felt for the three weeks of the shooting spree, but some are "still frazzled," said Steven Jackson, an officer in the Community Outreach Section of the Metropolitan Police Department.
"The biggest thing I see for kids for everyone on Halloween is some criminal using Halloween as a time to injure someone," he said.
Police officers remained vigilant last night, as they do every year on Halloween, to ensure trick-or-treater's safety, he said.
Many churches and other groups held Halloween parties, such as the one Mrs. Moller and her daughter planned to attend, giving children a safer place to celebrate the holiday.
Sharmaine Green, who was escorting her daughter and niece in Northeast Capitol Hill, said she considered having a party for her daughter and some of her friends so they could avoid any potential problems on the streets.
She decided, though, that she and the children "can't live your life with fear. Whether they were caught or not, life goes on."
Diane Pugh and her four nieces and nephews hit the streets at around 5 p.m., and planned on getting off the roads by about 6:30 p.m., before teenagers came out to celebrate the holiday. She, too, planned to stay on a path that led only to homes she was familiar with or that were decorated and well-lighted. The children she accompanied had to let their aunt check any candy they received.
"We've been doing this for the longest time, and I'm not going to stop their enjoyment because of a couple of nutties," she said in reference to the sniper scare.
One woman handing out candy said not many visitors came her way.
"I actually thought there'd be a lot more trick-or-treaters," said Courtney Kaezyk.
Those children and parents that did come to her door didn't seem concerned or discuss taking extra precautions in light of the recent scare in the area, she said.


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