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Making the most out of Halloween

By Clio Francis - Fairfax Media
31 October 2008

Halloween is a time for all things frightening, but has the day of tricks and treats gotten too scary for the kids? Stuff.co.nz asks some experts for tips on Halloween safety.

While having fun is the most important part of Halloween, community policing head Inspector Carey Griffiths warns that trick-or-treating children should always be accompanied by an older, responsible person.

"Parents should have a talk with their kids about the dangers before they go, know the route they will be taking and set a time for them to get home.

"It's handy if someone can take a cellphone with them, and ideally it's good for kids to stay in a local neighbourhood they know."

Children should also be wary of dogs in properties, and be careful when crossing the road, he said.

Neighbourhood Support national manager Roger Eynon said safety on Halloween was about being wise, being aware of your surroundings and knowing some people might not enjoy the festivities.

"We don't want to spoil anyone's fun, but it is important to remember that not everyone relishes people knocking on their door.

"If that is the case, we advise they just lock the door, have a cup of tea and watch a good film, or perhaps take the opportunity to have a night out."

Neighbourhood Support branches were organising a number of Halloween events throughout New Zealand, with an emphasis on family and fun.

There are a number of frightening family events on this year:

Auckland

  • Auckland Zoo has the "Boo at the Zoo" party, kicking off tonight from 6pm. Special guests include Dora the Explorer and SpongeBob SquarePants.
  • On Saturday, you can head to "Halloween Mayhem and Malarkey" at Essex Reserve Park in Mt Eden. This free event starts at 12.30pm and is suitable for kids aged 4-10. Kids should dress up.

Hamilton

  • Hamilton's Elliot Park is hosting "Treats in the Park" this Halloween. Festivities begin at 3.15pm, and include treats for the kids for a gold coin donation. Last year's event attracted 5000 participants, so get there fast.

Wellington

  • "The Big Halloween at Capital E" boasts bearded ladies, a freaky twisted circus and a hall of oddities, to name but a few. The fun starts at 4pm today at Civic Square.

Alternative options:

  • For those not ghoulishly inclined, church orientated Light Parties are being held across the country. Christchurch's St Barnabas Church vicar John Day said the event offered an alternative to Halloween. "The event is not about witches and the occult but emphasises children dressing up as superheroes they admire. For information on a Light Party in your area, visit www.lightparty.org
  • Neighbourhood watch groups around the country are organising family friendly events in your area. Contact your local group for more information.
  • You could always make Halloween special for the family by watching WWE's Halloween Smackdown Special. The WWE Superstars and Divas of SmackDown promise a show of intense thrills and some unique costumes. The famous Masked Magician will make a special appearance and will surely have a trick up his sleeve. Tune in Sunday at 6:45pm on Sky.
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