Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Opinion

October 29, 2012

Watch out!

Tiny ghosts and goblins will be roaming the streets Tuesday

ASHLAND — While the cities of Russell, Ironton and Coal Grove had their trick-or-treat night Thursday, the streets of Ashland, Catlettsburg, Flatwoods, Raceland, Grayson, Greenup, Olive Hill and the unincorporated aras of Boyd and Lawrence Counties will be filled with tiny ghosts, goblins, witches, pirates and other creatures Tuesday night as those communities celebrate what traditionally has been known as Beggars’ Night.

The door-to-door “begging” for treats officially will begin at 6 p.m. in all those communities and will end at 8 p.m. with the  exception of Ashland and Catlettsburg, where trick-or-treating is to end at 7:30 p.m.

For the most part, Beggars’ Night is a fun event enjoyed by young and old alike. The young people like it because of the candy they get, and most adults enjoy having the children stop by for a treat, expecially those who live in the neighborhood and they see on a regular basis. Those who don’t enjoy trick-or-treating manage to stay away from home during the designated hours.

In fact, if anything many adults have expressed disappointment at how the number of trick-or-treaters who knock on their door each Halloween has steadily declined in recent years.  That’s because there are many other opportunities for children to receive treats that many parents consider to be safer alternatives to going door-to-door. For example, Ashland Town Center wil have trick-or-treating from 6 to 7  tonight, while Kyova Mal will have trick-or-treating  at the same time as the rest of the county from 6 to 8 Tuesday night. In addition, a number of area churches have already celebrated “Trunk or Treat” in which candy is distributed  from the trunks of vehicles parked in church parking lots. Many churches consider those free treats to be part of an outreach ministry that could help convinced unchurched children to visit their church with their family some Sunday morning.

And while some kids will be going door-to-door Tuesday, the city will be distributing treats in Central Park.

While there may not be as many children roaming the streets Tuesday as in previous years, there still will be enough to more than justify careful motorists to use extra caution during the early evening hours.

To assure safety, here are a few common sense tips for the children, for their parents and for motorists:

--Drivers need to use extra caution as they travel on neighborhood streets between 6 and 8 tomorrow night. In their eagerness to get a treat from the next house, kid can thoughtlessly dart into the street — sometimes from between parked vehicles ­— without bothering to look for oncoming traffic. Drive slowly and be prepared to stop suddenly.

--Small children should not go house-to-house without supervision.

--Kids should carry a flashlight and wear reflective clothing when roaming the streets.

--In the interest of safety, children should only visit the homes of neighbors they know.

--Treats that are not individually wrapped should be discarded.

--Trick-or-treating is for small children. Those 12 and older should not be out seeking treats.

Children have always celebrated Halloween, but the real growth market in the holiday is among young adults. More than 80 percent of those between 18 and 24 typically attend a Halloween party, often wearing a costume designed specifically for adults. With this being an election year, we suspect there will be more than a few attending Halloween parties dressed as either Barack Obama or Mitt Romney. Who knows? Maybe they can help the undecided voters make up their minds. Or not.

So, whether you are a parent taking your small children trick-or-treating or a teen or adult using Halloween as an excuse to party, use common sense and sound judgment. If you do, it will be a fun holiday not marred by tragedy.

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