Events will get you in the Halloween ‘spirit’

Published 9:52 pm Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Ciara Viola and Kelsey Smith dress up as super heroes for Nansemond-Suffolk Academy’s homecoming activities. They are demonstrating one rule of safe costume-wearing — use a mask that doesn’t block your vision.

More than 36 million children across the United States will be trick-or-treating this weekend, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

For the few thousand of those in Suffolk, the city has a few rules and guidelines for children and parents to observe while they’re out collecting candy.

Trick-or-treating hours end at 8 p.m., according to a news release from city spokeswoman Debbie George. Also, it is against the law for anyone over the age of 12 to trick-or-treat in Suffolk.

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For safety, trick-or-treaters and their parents or guardians observe the following rules:

  • A responsible adult should escort children while trick-or-treating.
  • Adults should carry flashlights so motorists can see them.
  • All costumes should be made of light-colored, fireproof material and include reflective tape.
  • Children should wear proper-fitting, comfortable costumes and shoes.
  • Masks should not be worn if they block vision.
  • Trick-or-treaters should visit only homes that have the porch lights turned on.
  • Children should never eat their treats until they get home and allow a parent to inspect them.
  • Only allow children to eat unopened candies and other treats that are in their original wrappers.

Motorists on the road Sunday evening also should remember to slow down and be patient, George said. Remember that trick-or-treaters will be excited and may forget to look before they cross a street.

A number of events will be happening over the next several days to get folks in the Halloween mood. The events benefit a variety of organizations, from the Red Cross to the United Way.

  • Most people think of blood and gore when they think of Halloween. The Virginia Department of Transportation will sponsor a blood drive 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today at 1700 N. Main St. Call the Suffolk chapter of the American Red Cross at 539-6645 for more information.
  • The Legends of Sleepy Hole haunted hayride experience will begin at 6 p.m. Friday night at Sleepy Hole Park. The event is for ages 10 and up, but also features a lighter area for children to enjoy. The entry fee is $5 per person, a portion of which benefits the city’s United Way campaign. Concessions also will be available.
  • The Genieve Shelter is capitalizing on the Halloween theme with a masquerade ball to raise funds for its fight against domestic violence. The organization’s Board of Directors will host its annual gala Friday from 7-9 p.m. at 220 N. Church St., Smithfield. The theme is “Unmasking Domestic Violence.” Tickets are $30. For more information call 925-4365.
  • The North Suffolk Library will hold a Pumpkin Palooza Saturday from 10-11 a.m. in the lobby. The celebration includes refreshments, storytime and a pumpkin carving contest. Bring your carved pumpkin 9-10 a.m. Story time begins 10:15 a.m. Winner announced at 11 a.m. Costumes encouraged.
  • Riddick’s Folly will feature readings from Edgar Allan Poe at 3 p.m. Saturday. Reservations are required. Admission is two cans of non-perishable food to be donated to the Suffolk Food Bank. Refreshments will follow the reading. To reserve a space, call 934-0822 or email