Harford gears up for the ghoulish and goofy on Halloween

The season for all things spooky is here, and Harford County residents will get their chance to dress up and stalk the neighborhoods in search of candy later this week.

Parades and costume contests were held this past Saturday at the Festival at Bel Air Shopping Center near Abingdon, Beards Hill Plaza in Aberdeen and Riverside Shopping Center, all sponsored by Klein's ShopRite Supermarkets.

Havre de Grace is holding its 28th annual Halloween parade this Wednesday, Oct. 30.

Registration begins at 6:15 p.m. and the main event will kick off at Congress and Washington streets at 6:30 p.m.

The parade is open to all ages and will include live entertainment, with Mark Hemler as DJ and the Havre de Grace Drama Guild doing a performance.

The city will give out prizes for the 15 best costumes.

The Town of Port Deposit will hold a Halloween party from 5:30 to 8 p.m. on Oct. 31 at its Town Hall.

Trick-or-Treat times

County and local governments recommend trick-or-treaters stick to certain times of the day to ensure their safety.

Trick-or-treating is suggested from 5 to 8 p.m. in Aberdeen, from 5 to 8 p.m. in Bel Air and from 6 to 8 p.m. in Havre de Grace.

Trick-or-treaters are also advised to stick to the hours of 6 to 8 p.m. outside the municipalities, according to the Harford County Sheriff's Office.

Be safe

The Maryland State Highway Administration reminds drivers to stay alert on their commute home from work on Thursday and to drive slowly and expect trick or treaters to lurk.

As dusk falls earlier, both cars and pedestrians  become more difficult to spot on statewide roadways, and "Be seen on Halloween" is the message from the SHA, which will once again lend reflective vests to those in costume and their chaperons as part of the annual "Vests for Visibility" Program.

SHA's Vests for Visibility lends reflective safety vests to parents to place over their children's costumes– free of charge. The vests will be available in most counties at most SHA Maintenance facilities each day on Tuesday, Oct. 29; Wednesday, Oct. 30; and Thursday, Oct. 31, from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. Reflective vests will be issued on a first come, first served basis and need to be returned by Friday, Nov. 8. 

In Harford County, the SHA's Churchville Shop is at 3050 Churchville Road (Route 22), phone 410-838-7788.

In Cecil County, the SHA's Elkton Shop is 2024 E. Old Philadelphia Road, phone 410-398-1565.

Here are some tips from the SHA to ensure everyone has a safe Halloween:

For motorists:

• Stop for pedestrians – Maryland law requires motorists to stop for pedestrians in marked crosswalks and intersections.

• Stay alert - park the mobile phone.

• Obey the speed limit. Speeding only makes it more difficult to stop unexpectedly. 

• Motorists should be more cautious during peak trick-or-treating hours between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m.

• Enter and exit driveways slowly, and turn at intersections with caution.

• Be alert for children darting across the street and crossing between parked cars.

• When driving children to and from different activities, make sure all seat belts are fastened and let children out of the car on the curbside.

• Never drink and drive.  Designate a sober

For pedestrians:     

• Look left, right, and left again before crossing the street.

• Cross at crosswalks or intersections.

• Be sure to see and be seen. Avoid dark clothing, wear bright colors and use reflective devices such as vests and blinking lights.

• Avoid costumes that may impair vision.

• Make eye contact with drivers when crossing the street.

• Stay alert and be on the lookout for cars traveling above the speed

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