Pumpkins are carved, costumes are made and candy is ready to be handed out to very eager kids. Yes, Halloween is less than one week away, but there are also plenty of activities between now and then to get everyone, regardless of age, into the haunting spirit.
In addition to the traditional trick-or-treating in neighborhoods Halloween night, there will be parades, costume contests and many other Halloween-themed events around the area.
Activities are planned in Bel Air, Havre de Grace, Aberdeen and Riverside in Harford County and in Perryville and Port Deposit in Cecil County.
The 24th annual Halloween costume parade, contest and trick-or-treat will be 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Festival at Bel Air Shopping Center, 5 Bel Air South Parkway, rain or shine.
Registration begins at 10:30 a.m. in the parking lot in front of Chuck E. Cheese's, and kids and families are encouraged to dress up.
Kids will have the opportunity to visit all the stores in the shopping center for goodies until 2 p.m.
All kids in costume receive a trick-or-treat bag with candy, and the top 10 finalists will receive prize bags with gifts. The top five will receive gift certificates to Festival stores and the grand prize winner will receive a $150 gift certificate to ShopRite.
The Downtown Bel Air Alliance will also hold trick-or-treating Saturday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
"Trunk-or-treat" sites will be in the new parking lot next to the Main Street Tower, where kids can gather their treats all in one place.
The town of Bel Air recommends trick-or-treating on Halloween night be conducted between 5 and 8 p.m.
Havre de Grace
The city's Halloween parade, sponsored by the Havre de Grace Recreation Committee, will be Tuesday, Oct. 30.
Registration begins at 6 p.m. and the parade will start at 6:30 p.m. Families should meet at the corner of Washington Street and Congress Avenue dressed in costume.
Recommended Halloween night trick-or-treat time in Havre de Grace is 6 to 8 p.m.
Aberdeen and Riverside
Similar to the Festival at Bel Air parade, kids in the Aberdeen and Riverside area will also parade in costumes this Saturday.
At the Beard's Hill Plaza off Route 22, registration begins at 10:30 a.m. in front of ShopRite and trick-or-treating will be until 2 p.m.
At Riverside Plaza, the parade will begin at 10:30 a.m. with registration at ShopRite. Trick-or-treating will last until noon.
Aberdeen recommends trick-or-treating between 5 and 8 p.m. Outside the municipalities, the Harford County Sheriff's Office recommends trick-or-treaters go out between 6 and 8 p.m.
The town will host a Halloween party 7 to 9 p.m. today (Friday), rain or shine, in the town hall parking lot at 515 Broad St.
Costumes are required for children 12 years old and younger, and parents must accompany children.
On Halloween night, trick-or-treating is recommended between 6 and 8 p.m.
The town will hold its Halloween party on the 31st from 5 to 8 p.m., with festivities beginning in the courtyard next to town hall, 64 S. Main St.
There will be pumpkin carving, a best costume contest, food, candy and music.
Kids can take a hayride through town, which will stop every block or so for kids to knock on doors and collect candy.
This Saturday at Port Deposit VFW Post 8185, adults are invited to a Halloween dance at 8 p.m. Music will be provided by the Route 1 Band and snacks will be prepared and sold by the ladies auxiliary. Costumes are encouraged and prizes will be awarded for the best. A donation of $10 per person will be accepted.
The Harford County Fire and EMS Association, Harford County Sheriff's Office and State Highway Administration encourage all community members to stay safe and be aware of an increased number of people out in the streets Halloween night.
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Here are some tips to ensure a fun and safe Halloween:
• Ensure all costumes are well ventilated, are flame resistant and have plenty of visibility.
• Carry a flashlight, watch for cars and place reflective material on costumes.
• Reflective vests will be available as part of the SHA's annual "Vests for Visibility" program. Vests will be available at all 29 SHA maintenance facilities Oct. 29 through 31 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Vests are issued on a first come, first served basis and must be returned by Nov. 9. Harford County residents can borrow a vest from the Churchville shop at 3050 Churchville Road.
• For those welcoming trick-or-treaters at home, turn on exterior lights and remove objects from your yard that may be hazardous.
Finally and most importantly, never go out alone, only visit houses of people you know and stay in well-lit areas.