Be prepared, safe for what could be a wet Halloween

bmilazzo@centredaily.comOctober 29, 2013 

  • SAFETY TIPS

    The State College Police Department is asking people to be safe this Halloween. Suggestions to be safe, according to officer Kelly Aston, are:

    • Always travel with a responsible adult.

    • Wear bright colors or reflective gear.

    • Do not enter a strangers’ home or vehicle.

    • When walking, travel against traffic. When on bicycle, ride with traffic.

    • Do not wander alone.

    • Drivers should be aware of pedestrians at all times.

Crystal Bower, of Port Matilda, has two kids who enjoy trick-or-treating, but she said she never knows how to dress them for the weather.

“Some years it’s nice, and other times you need to bundle up,” she said.

With rain in the forecast all day Thursday, Elyse Colbert, meteorologist at the National Weather Service in State College, said Thursday evening would be in the mid 50s around Centre County with highs during the day in the low 60s.

She added that keeping an umbrella on hand would be a necessity for those hitting the streets for Halloween.

With a system moving in from the Midwest, there is a 60 percent chance of rain Thursday afternoon with an 80 percent chance of precipitation at night starting around dinnertime, she added.

However dressing up for Halloween also is about staying safe.

Kelly Aston, State College police community relations and crime prevention specialist, said the department is urging trick-or-treaters and those accompanying them to either dress in bright colors or wear reflective gear.

“We aim to eliminate accidents,” Aston said.

The State College Police Department will increase patrols on Halloween and through the weekend, Aston added.

“Halloween is one of our busiest times of year, so we definitely have increased manpower,” Aston said.

With heightened energy on Halloween and leading into the weekend, Aston said crimes such as criminal mischief and vandalism occur mainly during the afternoon, while alcohol-related incidents spike at night. She also added that those concerned with registered sex offenders living in the area could get information from the Megan’s Law online sex offender registry at www.pameganslaw.state.pa.us.

“That just goes along with people traveling in groups or with a responsible adult, and not to go inside a strangers’ home or vehicle,” Aston said.

With about 777 residents under the age of 5, and about 1,352 between ages 5 and 17, Courtney Hayden at the State College Borough office predicts about half of the minor population in the borough would hit the streets for trick-or-treating this year. She added that when it comes to the Halloween tradition, the borough will not be as busy as neighborhoods like Park Forest in Patton Township that attract younger families in a suburban setting.

For those looking for a more climate-controlled alternative, the Nittany Mall, 2901 E. College Ave., is hosting an annual Trick or Treat Night event from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday for children ages 12 or younger.

Employees from 55 retailers would be at the front of their stores handing out candy to kids, said mall spokeswoman Polly Welch. Each store participating in the event will have a balloon outside the store.

Mall General Manager Louis Kanzleiter said the event has been a tradition for more than 20 years as a way for mall employees to interact with the public and offer an alternative trick-or-treating event to the community.

“It’s a safe and fun environment where they can trick or treat at their leisure,” Kanzleiter said. “It’s nice for the family and nice for the mall to get involved with the public.”

Rain or shine, about 500 visitors are expected this year, Kanzleiter said. The event is free to the public.

Designated trick-or-treating hours in State College and the Centre Region, as well as Bellefonte and Philipsburg are from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. with an exception to Halfmoon Township, which is from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Downtown Philipsburg is holding a Hunt the Pumpkin Patch scavenger hunt for children ages 2 to 17 until Sunday and sponsored by Philipsburg Main Street.

Dana Shoemaker, Main Street manager, said the event started last year as a way to involved the community with its business district. Those interested can email mainst@philipsburgpa.org for a registration form. Four winners will be selected to receive a $50 gift certificate for a downtown business.

A Haunted Pavilion Maze will also be held at the Pavilion Theatre on Penn State’s campus from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Thursday for families and another showing 6:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Britney Milazzo can be reached at 231-4648. Follow her on Twitter @ M11azzo.

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