Trick-or-treating might be banned, but no town will leave children all dressed up with no place to go this Halloween.
Where bans are in effect, towns offer their younger residents alternatives, planning parties and parades to satisfy the quest for candy.
Manchester tosses a party and provides treats for its children. Starting at 6:45 p.m. Thursday, children are invited to the ActivitiesBuilding to show off costumes and celebrate.
Taneytown tries to keep its children off the streets on Halloween with a parade through the city, awards in several costume categories and a party at the Activities Building.
"The council banned trick-or-treating years ago, and people here have been very cooperative," said City Manager Neal Powell.
New Windsor keeps its porch lights off for Halloween, hoping to deter young callers, said Mayor James C. Carlisle.
The town Lions Club sponsored a parade and party last Friday.
"We have a lotof senior citizens here," he said. "When people let carloads of children out on the edges of town, it just got out of hand."
Carlisle said the last year the town allowed the practice, he counted more than 100 callers at his home.
Neighboring Union Bridge has taken a different tack.
Acting on requests from many parents, the Town Council lifted its ban, limiting its streets to younger children of town residents.
"We are going to try it this year," said Mayor Perry L. Jones Jr. "If we have any major problems, we may have to ban it again."
The council decided costumed children, age 12 and under, can call on their neighbors.
"Just as long as it's young children, I, personally, have no problem with the practice," said Councilman Selby M. Black.
Officials are asking residents willing to treat the children to leave a porch light on as a welcome sign.
At a recent town meeting, resident Doris Greenwood of Union Bridge Road advised her neighbors to use discretion.
"If you want to treat the children, leave a light on," she said, adding that older children should stay home.
"We don't mind, as long as we don't open our doors to 15-year-olds in sheets."
While other county towns don't deter trick-or-treaters, they don't encourage it either.
"Trick-or-treating is not encouraged in Westminster," said Mary Ann Kelly, spokeswoman for the mayor's office. "Children are allowed to be out in their own neighborhoods, calling where a light on welcomes them."
Mount Airy, Sykesville and Hampstead also allow trick-or-treating within the town limits and during early-evening hours.
Area organizations also are offering alternatives to the mischief often associated with this fall holiday:
* The Middle School Recreation Council and the Carroll County Department of Recreation and Parks sponsor a Halloween Skating Party from 7 to 10 p.m. Thursday at Sportsman's Hall in Upperco.
Studentsin grades 6 through 8 are invited to skate in costume and compete for prizes. Admission is $4, with an additional $1.25 skate-rental fee.Information: 848-4049.
* The Church of the Ascension will focus on the religious roots of the holiday with an "All Hallow's Eve" celebration starting at 5:30 p.m. Thursday. Participants of all ages are encouraged to come in the costume of "anyone who is or could be a saint," said the Rev. Shawn Hill.
Following a worship service, the church plans a costume parade, a puppet show by King's Kids, games and refreshments.
* The community of Tyrone might be a day late, but itplans to celebrate anyway with a Halloween Hayride for children 12 and under.
Participants can enjoy rides, treats and refreshments and help the needy, too. Admission is one canned good item for Carroll County Food Sunday.
Celebrants can climb aboard from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Friday at Baust Church Parish Hall, 2940 Old Taneytown Road. Information: 756-2079.
The Extension Service offers tips on costume creativity and safety. Costume preparation should be a joint venture for parents and children, allowing both to design functional and safe outfits.
Costumes should be made from light, brightly colored material, especially if children will be out after dusk. If the costume mustbe dark, trim it with fluorescent or reflective tape.
If purchasing a commercial costume, check its label to make sure the garment is flame-resistant or retardant.
Parents, with flashlights, should accompany children.