Lawrence lines up safe celebrations for Halloween

Parents are invited once again to pack up the kids — the ghouls, the goblins, the princesses, the Lady GaGas — and head downtown for wholesome and productive trick-or-treating, before heading back home for after-dark roaming in accordance with all the regular rules:


Hannah Utley, left, and Taylor Goodman drove up from Ottawa on Tuesday to look for just the right costumes. Fun and Games, 830 Mass., was abuzz with people looking for Halloween costumes and decorations, as the holiday is less than two weeks away.


Brad Barrett watches as his son, Chance Barrett, 8, tries on a mask at Fun and Games.

Top 10 costumes

Here are the most popular

Halloween costumes this season, according to a survey of 9,291 Americans conducted for the National Retail Federation:

For children: 1. Princess. 2. Spider-Man. 3. Witch. 4. Pirate. 5. Disney princess. 6. Action/super hero. 7. Ghost. 8. (tie) Pumpkin, vampire. 10. Batman.

For adults: 1. Witch. 2. Vampire. 3. Pirate. 4. Nurse. 5. Wench/tart/vixen. 6. Cat. 7. Zombie. 8. Fairy. 9. (tie) Athlete, Batman.

For pets: 1. Pumpkin. 2. Devil. 3. Witch. 4. Hot dog. 5. (tie) Bee, cat. 7. Dog. 8. Superdog/cat. 9. Ghost. 10. Pirate.

In honor of misers everywhere, we're challenging you to come up with the best, scariest, most original costume you can create for $10. The best one will receive a spooky prize.

For more details and to enter's Halloween costume contest, visit

The Cheap Halloween costume contest is brought to you by Fun & Games.

• Wear unrestrictive clothing.

• Retain proper vision.

• Stay in familiar areas, visiting only homes with their lights on.

And always — always — be careful.

“We need to be vigilant,” said John Drees, coordinator for Safe Kids Douglas County. “We need to be aware.”

To help keep the real-life scary out of one of the country’s most boisterous holidays — Americans plan to spend $5.8 billion on costumes, candy and decorations, according to the National Retail Federation — plenty of folks in Lawrence are organizing free activities that offer safety and security, often in conjunction with fun and games.

First up: Halloween Paint-In, organized by Lawrence Parks & Recreation.

Anyone wanting to paint a Halloween scene on a Massachusetts Street window — a family-friendly artistic vision, not vandal-minded graffiti — may submit a sketch to organizer Duane Peterson, who in turn can set you up with a glass canvas and all the wash-off paint you’ll need.

Approved participants can be anyone from the third grade and up, and each will receive a T-shirt. Painting commences from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday.

“It’s a family-friendly event,” Peterson said.

The registration deadline is 6:30 p.m. Thursday. Drop off drawings and contact information at the Holcom Park Recreation Center, 2700 W. 27th St.

Next: Halloween in the Halls, sponsored by Kansas University’s Department of Student Housing.

The KU event runs from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. this Sunday atop Daisy Hill, home to the bulk of KU’s residence halls. There will be a kid-friendly haunted house at Hashinger Hall, a carnival at Ellsworth Hall and plenty of trick-or-treating at Lewis, Templin and McCollum halls.

Kids should be accompanied by an adult. And look online for a special “Beak ’Em Hawks” pumpkin stencil at

And don’t forget Halloween itself, Oct. 31.

Downtown merchants once again will welcome trick-or-treaters from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., as the kiddos can stop by the estimated 50 or so stores expected to hand out candy between Seventh and 10th streets.

“It’s a great family atmosphere,” said Jane Pennington, director of Downtown Lawrence Inc. “And there’s still plenty of time to get home and make other visits.”

Oh yes, that: The official hours for “Halloween Beggars Night” will be from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Oct. 31, with homeowners asked to turn on their porch lights during that time to assist costumed youths.


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