- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 1, 2006

The Halloween haunted house didn’t scare Tierra Alexander, who arrived last night at the 5th District police station dressed as an orange and yellow cat with green fingernails.

“I watch a lot of scary movies,” the 9-year-old from the District explained.

She and other children were celebrating Halloween at the police station on Bladensburg Road Northeast, where one of the rooms was converted into a haunted house.

All seven district police stations offered Halloween activities for children as safe alternatives to trick-or-treating on neighborhood streets.

“It is a safe environment that is fun and entertaining,” Cmdr. Jennifer Greene said at the 5th District station. “The children don’t have to go door to door, which in this time can be dangerous.”

She said the station has held a Halloween party or haunted house for children for the six years that she has been commander there.

More than 10 D.C. officers wore masks to scare the children as they wandered through a dark room filled with fog, tombstones and creepy sounds.

Shantisa Brooks, 9, said the scariest part was “when the monsters grabbed me.” She said the best part was the candy, and the evidence was her colorful tongue.

“The good thing is that we scare them, but we also treat them,” said Officer R.L. Fryer, dressed in a black coat and a zombie mask. “I think this is a very good thing.”

At the end of the haunted room, officers gave children hot dogs, soft drinks and candy.

“This is a more controlled, safe environment,” said Laverne Mingo whose son, Amar, 8, was dressed in black with his face painted. “Here he is with people he knows.”

The costumes ranged from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to bears and princesses.

“It was fun,” said Juwan Thomas, 10, dressed as a knight in red and silver. “The scariest part was when I first got in, and they grabbed me.”

At the 4th District station on Georgia Avenue Northwest, the party was an opportunity to tell children about the importance of going to school and listening to their parents.

The festivities — a joint event by the Metropolitan Police Department and the National Pan-Hellenic Council’s D.C. chapter — also featured games, costume contests and lots of candy.

“The kids really had fun,” said Thuy Cooper, 35, who was an organizer for the party that drew 20 to 30 children. “This was a chance for us to come together and serve our community.”

Panyakhan Gregory said she has brought her son, Hezekiel, 10, to the station for the past three years. She said he likes to scare other children with his mask from the movie “Scream.”

Three police stations held haunted houses. Others held parties and other activities and games.

The festivities were sponsored by a donation from the D.C. Police Fund.

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