Last Halloween, Kevin Romanosky was that magic age of 2, when the trepidation of ringing strange doorbells gives way to the stunning realization that candy can be had for the asking. This year, Kevin the Pirate "is all gung-ho and ready to go," said his father, Stanley. But instead of plying the neighborhood, Kevin and his mother will head for New Port Richey's Gulf View Square Mall, where merchants hand out goodies to the multitudes.
More and more, Halloween is moving indoors.
As often as not, neighbors are strangers. Parents fear that candy will be adulterated with razor blades, drugs or who knows what. And this year, a disease-bearing mosquito has people worried as well.
"It's a lot different than it used to be; there's so much stuff going on. You don't know where to turn," said Stanley Romanosky, in charge of fogging for Pinellas County mosquito control.
Within the last few weeks, dozens of traditional Halloween activities have been rescheduled or canceled to avoid the prime nighttime biting hours of a pesky mosquito responsible for 65 cases of St. Louis encephalitis in the state.
After two cases of the flu-like illness cropped up in Hillsborough County, state health officials suggested small children should finish trick or treating before dusk, which they defined as beginning an hour before sunset.