Hey kids – you don't have to wait until Friday to don your Halloween costumes!
Three Dearborn communities are having Halloween costume contests, with two starting off with parades.
First off is the Aurora Lions Club's Halloween parade and costume contest Tuesday, Oct. 28. Costumed participants are invited to meet at 7 p.m. at USBank on Aurora's Second Street, then march down the street to the Aurora Lions Club building at Second and Main streets. Judging will take place on a stage, either behind the building or, if the weather is inclement, inside.
Categories include best costumed South Dearborn Band member; best homemade costume; prettiest; ugliest or scariest; witch, ghoul, ghost or vampire; TV, movie, cartoon or fictional character; miscellaneous (costumes which do not fit into other categories;) and best of show (winners of all categories.)
Candy and prizes will be provided by the Aurora Lions Club.
Dillsboro Civic Club's annual Halloween parade, costume and carved pumpkin judging will be Thursday, Oct. 30.
Participants should gather between 6 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. at the USBank lot to parade with clowns, Tootsie and Baby Ruth to the Civic Club for judging by categories. Prizes will be awarded for the best floats, and pre-carved pumpkins and fancy pumpkins will be judged.
Costume categories will be judged outside the Dillsboro Civic Club, or moved inside if the weather is bad. Categories for two age groups, 7 and under and 8 to 14, include witches; monsters; Disney characters; princesses; cartoon characters; vampires; and miscellaneous. Categories for all ages include ghosts; familiar look-alikes; couples; animals; and superheros. All first-place winners will compete for best overall costume. Prizes include cash and a big Hershey candy bar. And cookies and hot chocolate will be served.
Meanwhile, decorated homes and businesses will be judged Wednesday evening, Oct. 29.
For the final costume contest, participants will have to wait until after trick or treat hours Friday, Oct. 31. The Moores Hill competition will begin at or a little after 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 31, at the Moores Hill Fire Department, with prizes sponsored by the town. Contestants will be divided into categories.
Trick or treat in all three communities as well as in Greendale and Lawrenceburg will be 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday. In case of rain, however, Greendale will postpone trick or treat to Saturday, Nov. 1. As usual, residents and businesses wanting to participate in trick or treat should turn on porch or outside lights. Firefighters, police and other emergency responders will be keeping an eye on activities.
Several organizations are offering safety tips for revelers and trick-or-treaters.
Just a few rules will help make the activity both fun and safe, said the Indiana State Police:
*Keep costumes short to prevent trips and falls.
*Try make-up instead of a mask, as masks often obstruct a child's vision. That makes crossing streets and negotiating stairs dangerous.
*Make sure children wear light colors or have reflective tape on costumes.
*Make sure older children trick or treat with friends and map out a route so parents know where they will be.
Instruct children to stop only at familiar homes where the outside lights are on.
*Encourage children to trick or treat while it is still light. If they go after dark, be sure they have flashlights and travel on well-lighted streets.
*Remind children not to enter the homes or cars of strangers, and not to eat any of their treats until they get home.
*Check out all treats at home in a well-lighted place and eat only unopened candies and other treats that are in original wrappers.
*Inspect fruits for anything suspicious.
Meanwhile, motorists should do their part by driving cautiously during trick or treat hours and avoiding talking on a cell phone or other distracting activities. Remember, excited children may dart into traffic at any time.
As for adult revelers, AAA Corporate Public Affairs Manager Cheryl Parker notes parties and events are likely on the same night this year.
“With Halloween on a Friday … most festivities are expected to take place that evening, putting a large number of adult partygoers on the road the same night as trick-or-treaters,” she said.
Nearly a third of Americans will attend an adult-oriented Halloween party this year, reports the National Confectioners Association.
Children are four times more likely to be struck by a motor vehicle on Halloween than any other day of the year, according to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control.
Motor vehicle fatalities increase 37 percent on average when Oct. 31 is on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday compared to other days of the week, according to the past decade of data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Meanwhile, the National Fire Protection Association's most recent statistics show that decorations were the first items to be ignited in 920 reported home structure fires on average each year. Those fires resulted in six civilian deaths, 47 civilian injuries and $12.9 million in direct property damage
Nearly half of decoration fires in homes occurred because the decorations were too close to a heat source. Forty-one percent of these incidents were started by candles; and one-fifth began in the living room, family room, or den.
NFPA suggests staying away from billowing or long trailing fabric for costumes. If you are making your own costume, choose material that won’t easily ignite if it comes into contact with heat or flame.
Dried flowers, cornstalks, and crepe paper are highly flammable. Keep these and other decorations well away from all open flames and heat sources, including light bulbs and heaters.
It is safest to use a glow stick or battery-operated candle in a jack-o-lantern. If you use a real candle, use extreme caution. Make sure children are watched at all times when candles are lit.
When lighting candles inside jack-o-lanterns, use long fireplace-style matches or a utility lighter. If you choose to use candle decorations, make sure to keep them well attended at all times
Remember to keep exits clear of decorations so nothing blocks escape routes.