And with Halloween comes an increased desire to shield youngsters from potential harm. Some adults aren't even sure trick-or-treating is such a good idea these days.
Others argue that the tradition doesn't need to be canceled, just modified.
For the past six years families have settled for a happy medium by attending the Sikeston Factory Outlet Stores Safe Trick-or-Treat Event. The kids have hours of fun and parents have one less thing to worry about.
This year's festivities will be from 4-7 p.m. Oct. 31 for children ages 12 and younger. Children can trick-or-treat in the Factory Outlet Stores and those who like animals can visit the M&W Petting Zoo. Someone will leave the event with a bicycle, another with a karaoke machine and one young guest will win a personal CD player. Registration for prizes will take place at the event.
There will be glow-in-the-dark necklaces given to the first 750 trick-or-treaters, courtesy of Sonny's Solid Waste. Refreshments will include free ice cream, compliments of Good Humor-Breyers Ice Cream and children will have a variety of games and activities to chose from, which will be sponsored by the American Legion Women's Auxiliary.
"This event is important because it gives children a safe place to go," remarked Tara Williams, assistant manager of the Sikeston Factory Outlet Stores. "We have support from the local police and sheriff departments and they will be on site that evening. We also will have all three of our full-time security guards working that day. Parents should not worry about attending this event more than they worry about their children doing other activities."
Last year approximately 700 children attended the event. The participants included Lee Ann Fowler's 3 and 6-year-old children. "They love it," she said, adding that her children have gone to the Halloween celebration for years.
"It's safe for children," she stressed. "The mall buys a lot of candy for the stores to hand out and you know they aren't going to hand out candy that's not safe. This is a business in our community and if you can't trust them, who can you trust? Some of the stores don't even hand out candy, they give stickers and pens and things."
For safety reasons, children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. For more information contact the Sikeston Factory Outlet Stores at 472-2222.