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Safe Halloween: Be on guard for roving ghouls

When asked to “reflect on Halloween,” one could look at it two ways.

On the last day of October we dress in costumes and hand out treats in a tradition that once was the bailiwick of children but has grown into multi-billion-dollar industry in which adults also revel.

Or, we revere the souls of loved ones and ancestors by observing All Hallows Eve one day before All Saints Day on Nov. 1. (See page B3 for details on one event that focuses on these origins.)

Split the difference and say it’s a little of both, that the spiritual side of the “holiday” is at least a glimmer in all the ghoulish glamor. As a culture we have greatly transformed the tradition of the poor asking the rich for food and drink into “trick or treat.”

On average, Americans will spend $74.34 on candy, costumes, and decorations, and nationwide, the candy industry will reap $2.1 billion of a projected $7 billion total, according to the National Retail Federation. (As an economic driver, it is nothing to snicker at.)

There will be some short princesses and tall zombies out there on Saturday night: according to CNN, 64 percent of Americans plan to celebrate Halloween this year, including 41.2 million trick-or-treaters aged 5-14.

In Hood River on Saturday, many kids will limit their rounds to downtown, where streets will be closed starting at 5 p.m., and other “Safe Halloween” alternatives that abound in the community.

All in all, there are more in 2015 than we have seen in a few years, a cyclical phenomenon given that Halloween happens on Saturday this year. Friday and Saturday nights are both fertile ground for a wide variety of spooky festivities.

In any event, caution is advised while driving and making trick-or-treat rounds on Saturday. Kids and the adults with them will be making their way between locations, and many will adhere to that old 20th century tradition of going door-to-door.

Which brings up another form of reflection: be it shiny tape or other device, if you are on foot with your princess or zombie, don one of those vests or coats that once were the garb of police officers and road workers and now are standard issue for cyclists and runners as well.

If driving anytime in the afternoon or evening on Saturday, please be on guard for the little ghouls, so that Hallowed Eve is a Healthy Eve.

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