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NOTE TO READERS: Trick or treat!

We'll be hearing it soon as little ghosts and goblins, ninja turtles and fairy princesses make their rounds.

However, volunteers at several schools are planning to put a new twist on the old theme this year. They're extending an invitation to all Pinellas County schools to join them in replacing "Kidscare" with "Kids Care!"

Hurricane Andrew pulled a "trick" on students in south Dade County, they said. Now let's provide them with a treat.

The concept of collecting something besides candy is not new to pupils at Sandy Lane Elementary in Clearwater. In past years, they've collected recyclables from friends and neighbors who have been "warned" of their plan. Because they've had some experience at this sort of thing, they've agreed to be the contact for an exchange of ideas on how to collect the "treats."

So far, the ideas are as numerous as the schools involved. One school plans to require a needed school item such as pencils, paper or pens as the admission fee for one of the booths at its annual Halloween carnival. Others plan to collect "treats" during the week before Halloween.

And a mall may donate unused space as a central drop-off point for all the schools so that loading and distribution to south Dade county will be simplified.

If your school is interested in participating in the program, call Sandy Lane Elementary School parent Charles Diehl (461-1899) for information.