EAST TAWAS - There is no shortage of activities on Friday as Iosco County celebrates Halloween.
Children who aren’t scouring the streets and neighborhoods in costumes looking for candy will have a chance to take part in several parties and events going on that night, many of which are free to the public.
A major event, which is in its second year in East Tawas, is the East Tawas Assembly of God’s Under the Big Top Halloween Party.
The event will be held in the parking lot across from the church at 311 E. Lincoln St. The event will run from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
The party will, among other things, feature 800 pounds of candy and performances by the STAND Strength Team. The group uses feats of strength to demonstrate a positive message to children.
Also at the event will be puppets, a kid’s disc jockey and cartoons on a big screen television.
In Oscoda, the AmericInn, located south of town and west of US-23 near the AuSable River, will feature its popular event by letting children trick or treat inside the hotel.
There will be more than 24 area businesses involved in the event, according to General Manager April Holmes.
The hotel donates rooms to the businesses, which they decorate and then pass candy to children.
“The kids line up at the door and we let so many in at a time,” she said. “It is just like trick or treating, but it is in a safe environment.”
She said one area organization spent $900 on candy last year.
Trick or treaters can enjoy cider and doughnuts in the lobby as well as music while they wait, she said.
Another event which will be taking place in East Tawas is the second annual Halloween Parade, sponsored by the East Tawas Business Association.
Children interested in parading through East Tawas in costume can meet at the Tawas Bay Players parking lot at 5:30 p.m. The parade will travel down Newman Street to Bay Street and end at the Main Street parking lot.
Participants are invited to trick or treat at downtown businesses, according to association spokesperson Diane Brewer.
“We had a phenomenal turnout last year,” she said.
There are several events taking place earlier in the day at Tawas area nursing homes.
One event will be held at Lakeview Manor, 408 N. Fifth St. in Tawas City.
According to Kim Muringer, children are invited to visit the nursing home from 3 to 5 p.m., where candy will be handed out by residents. She said there will also be apple cider and doughnuts served.
At Tendercare, located at 400 North St. in Tawas City, trick or treating in the nursing home will take place from 3 until 4:30 p.m.
Residents will pass out candy, according to a representative. There will also be an area in the building decorated as a haunted house.
Across town, the Tawas Knights of Columbus are having an annual Halloween Party at their hall, located at 821 Newman Street in East Tawas.
According to Rusty Bukoski, the party will feature many children’s games and candy giveaways. The party will take place from 6 to 8 p.m.
Another event, geared toward younger children, is being put on by Iosco PRIDE and will take place Thursday at Clara Bolen Elementary in Tawas City.
According to PRIDE organizer Jennifer Pintar, the event will take place in the gym from 6 to 8 p.m.
“We create a village within the gym for smaller children so they have a place that is safe,” she said.
There is a suggested donation of $1, which will go toward funding PRIDE, she said.
Curfews and Rules
Trick or treating officially starts in East Tawas and Tawas City at 5 p.m., according to Tawas Police Authority Chief Dennis Frank.
The start is signified by the blowing of the East Tawas Fire Station siren. The siren will sound again at 8 p.m. to signify the end of trick or treating.
Oscoda and Plainfield townships do not have set hours, but have a curfew for youths 16 and under at midnight.
Frank had a few tips for children and parents about Halloween safety.
“Children should wear light colored clothing, so they can be seen,” he said, “and flashlights or glowsticks to help motorists see them.”
He also suggested that, instead of wearing masks, which could obstruct vision, children should paint their faces. He also cautioned children to stay in groups and for parents to check their children’s candy before any is eaten.
Oscoda Township Police Chief Robert LaVack agreed with Frank. He noted that there would not be any other extra patrols in Oscoda and said younger children should be accompanied by adults.
“If there are parents with the younger ones, it usually works out better,” he said.
Many children will be pounding the pavement through neighborhoods in an attempt to get candy. What follows are several basic safety tips recommended by experts.
- Trick or treaters should respect property owners and only approach houses that are lit in familiar neighborhoods. Avoid cutting across property and driveways.
- Costumes should be highly visible. Drivers should keep a lookout for children during the trick or treating period.
- Protect pets by putting them somewhere to avoid trick or treaters and clear yards of items such as hoses, dog toys, ladders and landscaping that may trip young ones.
- Jack o’ lanterns can pose fire hazards. Make sure they are kept out of paths and placed in areas where they won’t catch fire when knocked over.