Terrorism Fears Add to Halloween's Scares in U.S.

Spooky stories about anthrax-tainted candy and tales of terrorist plots to attack malls have heightened security awareness this Halloween in the U.S.

Since the Sept. 11 attacks on the USA, polls have shown most Americans aren't planning to change their Halloween activities. But those polls were conducted before Monday's warning from the FBI that Americans should be on the highest alert for possible terrorist activity this week.

Security at public Halloween events has been beefed up, some are being canceled, and parents are paying close attention to how kids celebrate this year.

. The Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn., added more security after Sept. 11, and extra measures will be in place for Halloween festivities, including closer scrutiny of delivery vehicles. "Trick-or-treating at malls has become a tradition, and it's fair to expect attendance will be lighter than in years past," says Billie Scott of the Simon Property Group, which runs the mall. "For those families who want to trick-or-treat, we want to provide that opportunity."

. Instead of canceling its annual holiday event, the Grapevine (Texas) Mills mall will hold "Red, White & Boo An All-American Halloween" with extra security in place. Children will be allowed to trick-or-treat and are being encouraged to wear patriotic costumes.

. In the West Hollywood area of Los Angeles, where up to 250,000 people are expected for Halloween celebrations, police plan to have deputies patrolling by foot, car and horseback security measures already planned before Monday's advisory.

. Police in Chapel Hill, N.C., have asked Halloween revelers to be aware that terrorist costumes and white powder may incite fights or panic during the annual parade.

. UNICEF hopes more children will forgo the candy route this year to collect cash. The goal is to bag $6 million for Afghan children $2 million more than kids in the USA collected last year.

Robin Holland says her family "will not alter Halloween, because it's always been a controlled thing" in her neighborhood in Suwanee, Ga., where kids go only to nearby homes of people they know. But she knows plenty of parents who plan to "scale back" and "rethink" the holiday: no more haunted houses and no more trick-or-treating at strange houses. "We really don't want our son (Justin, 6) to live in fear. You just have to go on and be optimistically cautious."

Parents who "are feeling queasy about some activity this year should be creative and come up with an alternative they feel better about," says child psychologist Judith Primavera at Fairfield (Conn.) University

Some parents in New Jersey are renting restaurant space for Halloween parties instead of trick-or-treating.






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