- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 30, 2003

Local restaurants and lounges in the Washington area yesterday were preparing to treat Halloween revelers tonight, as area police were getting ready to guard against any tricks.

“We are expecting a lot of business,” said Susan Marsh, manager of Outta the Way Cafe on Redland Road near Rockville, whose serving staff will be in costume tonight.

A band, also in costume, will play old-time Halloween music from 7:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. to entertain patrons, many of whom are expected to be attired suitably for the occasion, Miss Marsh said.

Meanwhile, police officers throughout the metropolitan area will be on patrol to discourage rowdiness and prevent accidents involving costumed trick-or-treaters in neighborhoods. A large crowd is expected in Georgetown, and extra police officers will be on patrol there tonight to keep pedestrians on the sidewalks and drivers off them.

Police already started preparing for Halloween in Georgetown yesterday by installing metal fences along Wisconsin Avenue and M Street to keep pedestrians from surging into the streets.

The fences “won’t do any good,” predicted Aliya Crudup, hostess at Chicago Bar and Grill on M Street. “People will just go around them.”

“There will be crowds as soon as it gets dark,” Miss Crudup said. “We’ll be packed at dark.”

Signs of “Emergency” hung on Wisconsin lampposts, explaining that parking was not permitted from 4 p.m. today to 5 a.m. tomorrow. No parking will be allowed on M Street NW from 26th Street to the Key Bridge or on Wisconsin Avenue NW from K to P streets. Residential side streets in this area will also be closed to vehicular traffic except for residents or those having business in the area.

Costume stores have been busy this week, and expect even more business today as children and adults make last-minute purchases for the occasion.

Commander Salamander on Wisconsin Avenue did a brisk business all week, selling clothing that can be used as costumes. Popular items were surgical white coats bearing the designations of “Morgue Coroner” and “Proctologist” across the chest. For women there were wigs of bright, shiny colors and skimpy blouses and panties to match bright red wings with real feathers.

“This is the busiest time of the year for us,” said Assistant Manager Courtney Khan. “And, we’ll be busy until we close at 9 p.m.”

Wanda McRae, manager at Masters Costumes on Columbia Pike in Annandale, said, “A lot of the younger adult crowd have been coming in. The ladies are getting flapper dresses, like in the movie ‘Chicago.’ The men will dress like pirates, like ‘Pirates of the Caribbean.’”

Children seemed to prefer old favorites in costumes such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the Hulk and Spider-Man, Mrs. McRae said.

Police in most jurisdictions began issuing tip sheets a week ago, suggesting safety precautions for costumes and behavior for children, and warning grownups to drive carefully and control themselves to stay within the laws. The tips to adults pertain mainly to drinking.

“I would have to say the bar will be busy,” said a bartender at an eatery who asked not to be identified. “I would have to say the restaurant will be nearly dead. Parents will be home with kids out trick-or-treating. Kids want to eat their candy.”

Drinkers should not drive, police said. As has become almost a tradition, free cab rides — up to $50 — will be provided to take home drinkers 21 or older who call 800/200-TAXI (8294) from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m.

“We will be on the lookout for alcohol-impaired drivers,” said Lucille Baur, spokeswoman for the Montgomery County police.

Combined with Maryland State Police, the “enhanced saturation patrol” of especially trained officers will focus on inebriated drivers from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., Miss Baur said.

In Annapolis, Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., first lady Kendel, and their 4-year-old son, Drew, will go trick-or-treating about 6 p.m., then return to their home on State Circle to hand out candy to other trick-or-treaters.

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