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An alternative to Halloween

Published Oct. 8, 2005

In just two days most of us will hear little knocks on the front door, followed by "Trick or treat!" coming from children dressed as everything from space warriors to ghosts to Raggedy Ann.

That's one option for children who want to have fun dressing up and eating candy, but there are a couple of local churches offering Halloween alternatives for children.

Some of these activities are:

The First Presbyterian Church of Inverness will hold its Family Fall Fun Festival from 6 to 8 p.m. Sunday.

The First United Methodist Church in Inverness plans a costume party from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday.

The First Baptist Church of Inverness will offer a Children's Fall Festival from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Monday.

Calvary Bible Church in Inverness is hosting its Fall Festival from 3 to 5 p.m. today at the church. Non-scary costumes are encouraged. There will be games, prizes and candy. For more information, call 344-8331.

North Oak Baptist Church Camp Ministries is hosting its fall festival at 10 a.m. today. There will be a hayride, sack races, games and more. For more information, call 489-1688.

"This is an option we give to our children every year . . . an alternative to a Halloween party," said Adele Wardrop, director of educational ministries at the First Presbyterian Church of Inverness. "There is nothing at the party that will be scary, there will just be a lot of good, clean fun to be involved in."

"This should be one of the best parties we have ever had, where the children can enjoy being with their friends and family while doing all kinds of activities," she said.

Wardrop said the children, who may dress in their choice of costume, will have all sorts of fun and games they can participate in Sunday night.

"We're going to have nine different games and all kinds of activities, a strolling magician, sand sculpting, balloon sculpting, a bubble performance, pin the nose on the pumpkin, a pumpkin fishing pond, doughnuts on a string, pumpkin toss and bowling," she said.

Wardrop said about 85 people attended the festival last year, but she is expecting more Sunday. The church's Christian Education Committee is sponsoring the event.

"This is going to be a fun-filled night. If you don't have fun it will be your own fault," she said with a laugh.

Lee Ann Pepe, co-coordinator of the costume party at First United Methodist Church, said her church also is going to offer a barrage of games and activities for children.

"We wanted to do something for the kids so that they will not be out roaming the streets and wearing scary costumes. We are going to have a lot of games, a snack dinner, prizes and candy," she said.

Pepe said children attending the costume party are encouraged to dress up as Disney characters, cowboys and the like, "characters that aren't scary," she said.

Bob Hart, minister of youth and children at the First Baptist Church of Inverness, echoed what Pepe said about the safety of trick-or-treating.

"Trick-or-treating is almost too dangerous anymore, so we are trying to let the children have fun and celebrate the good things about fall while in a safe environment," he said.

He said children attending the First Baptist festival are encouraged to dress as Bible characters or wear "non-scary costumes."

"We will have a lot of fun. We are planning a costume judging contest, pumpkin decorating contest, football toss, ring toss, fishing hole, bone yard and water sponge throw. We will also have a hot dog supper for everyone," he said.