Tonight will mark the official celebration of All Hallow’s Eve, or Halloween. Clinton and the county, itself, are observing the evening tonight, if parents so choose to take their children trick-or-treating, to a church-sponsored event, or the resurrected Halloween on the Square in downtown Clinton, which kicks off tonight at 5;30 p.m.
For those celebrating the scariest night of the year, we encourage finding constructive, fun ways for children to enjoy the holiday in a safe manner, and to be mindful of them as they go about their trick-or-treating merriment.
There will be a plethora of ways for youngsters to don their most ghoulish costumes and head off to garner those confectionery delights that make this fall holiday more treat than trick.
Churches across the county are providing celebrations that combine outreach with fellowship, and everyone who wants to enjoy safe, clean fun is invited to participate.
For those who like the scariest parts of Halloween, there are corn mazes, haunted trails, haunted house and even haunted hay rides going, all promising to bring delight, a few chills and enough fun to last until the next big holiday adventure.
And then there’s the highly recommended Halloween on the Square events, that kick off with a Trunk or Treat and go through the night with costume contests for dogs and their owners, a ghost hunt and candy galore.
What’s more, don’t forget to take photos of those costume-clad youngsters and adults and enter them in The Sampson Independent’s ongoing Virtual Costume Party, at www.clintonnc.com., just another way to enjoy the fun.
But what we urge more than anything, though, is that people enjoy the holiday without abusing it.
What we urge is that people protect their youngsters by taking them to safe places in which to play games, wear their costumes and get those special candy treats youngsters always look for.
What we urge is caution by teenagers and adults who will use this holiday as an excuse to do the inexcusable — be it stealing pumpkins, egging houses or harming innocent animals — or as another means of partying long and hard without regard to what problems that partying can cause.
Over the years, Halloween has slipped from a warm, fun evening, where children could dress in make-believe attire, drop by neighbors’ houses and receive special home-baked goodies or some store-bought candy, into an abyss of evil.
Razor blades hidden in apples and chocolates, candy laced with poison, ghoulish-clad youngsters being abducted as they make their way from home to home — all these acts of evil have taken a fun-filled night for children and turned it into a classic horror story for parents.
Today, there is less door-to-door trick-or-treating than ever, and cities and counties that do allow trick-or-treating, like municipalities here, have specific times in which children can be out.
For parents who opt to take their children trick-or-treating, we encourage not only caution but a good dose of common sense. In other words, we urge parents to be attentive to their children, going with them into neighborhoods, walking with them into yards and examining the goodies they do bring home.
And we urge them to heed the time limits set by law enforcement.
But more importantly, we urge parents to opt for alternatives to the trick-or-treating of years past.
Whether you’re a parent looking to offer your youngsters a good time or whether you’re an adult looking for a little fun, it’s important that caution and good common sense be mixed with the desire to seek a few thrills, a few tricks and a few treats.
Doing that will make this holiday safe for everyone.