ONE OF the great joys of being a grandparent is baby-sitting. Loving, hugging, playing, feeding and changing for a set period of time is infinitely easier than being the one in charge on a daily, round-the-clock basis.
One of the pitfalls is being exposed to a new round of kid germs. Who knew that lying beneath the surface of my little grandson's smiles -- and sneezes and running nose -- was a mixture of germ warfare so potent that it could put his grandma out of commission for three days.
Aah-choo, Pasadena. Take your vitamin C. Get a flu shot. And watch out for those cute, little germ factories I mean, ghosts and goblins on the prowl this Halloween weekend.
Speaking of Halloween haunts, the youth group of Emmanuel Lutheran Church will set up its annual spooky fund-raiser, the Forest of Fear, from 7 to 9 tonight behind the church at 8615 Fort Smallwood Road.
Admission is $2 with a canned good, $3 without.
Face-painting, holiday trinkets and refreshments will be available.
"Our kids always have a great time putting this together for the community," said Nancy Quasney, church spokeswoman.
Proceeds will help support the youth ministry's outreach projects and Emmanuel's community food pantry.
Scaring away evil
Pasadena United Methodist Church, 61 Ritchie Highway, will sponsor a "Halloween pray" from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday in the fellowship hall.
The Rev. Bruce Thompson said people of all ages are invited to dress up for the celebration of saints -- and frighten away demons and evil spirits.
"Halloween is not the only time evil is abroad, nor is it a time when evil has more power than any other time," Thompson said, "unless we give that power to evil."
The program also includes games, costume contests and refreshments.
Families are invited to enjoy an evening of old-fashioned fun from 6: 30 p.m. to 8: 30 p.m. Sunday at the Pasadena Fall Festival sponsored by the congregation of New Hope Community Church at the Elizabeth's Landing common area, off Fort Smallwood Road.
Games, hayrides, a moon-bounce, ball crawl, Blast players, pony rides and refreshments will be featured.
Costumes are optional.
Admission is one large bag of wrapped candies per child, or a maximum of three bags for families with more than three children.
"This is our church's way of being involved in our community," said Kari Sheets, New Hope's evangelism coordinator. "It is a fun, safe, trick-or-treat alternative for families with kids of all ages."
Dinner, talent show
Jenkins Memorial Church in Riviera Beach will hold a dinner and talent show starting at 6 p.m. tomorrow.
A turkey dinner, dessert and refreshments will be served until 7 p.m. and will be followed by the talent show featuring singers, magic acts and other performers.
Tickets are $20 for adults and $7.50 for children. Youngsters under age 5 are admitted free.
The church is at 133 Riviera Drive, Jenkins Road. Information: 410-360-7824.
The Pasadena Business Association is accepting advance orders for its elegant new coffee-table book, "Between Two Rivers: A Pictorial History of Pasadena," published in time for holiday gift giving.
Written by Isabel Cunningham of Annapolis, with more than 300 color and black-and-white photos by professionals and amateurs (many of the photos from family albums), the book details the story of Pasadena.
Published by the association, "Between Two Rivers" costs $30 and will be available for pickup at many area businesses the next two months. Mail orders are $36, and checks payable to the association should be mailed to the organization at P.O. Box 861, Pasadena 21123-0861.
Profits will be used for the association scholarship program that makes awards to seniors at Northeast and Chesapeake high schools.
"Having a lump sum to work with will ease the pressure [for us] to raise this money each year," said Carol Cross, association executive director.
Head to Harrisburg
The Ladies Auxiliary to the County Firefighters Association is planning a bus trip Dec. 4 to the Pennsylvania Christmas Craft and Gift Show at the Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg, Pa.
The show features more than 500 vendors, a 110-foot train display, a professional ice skating show, and a life-size re-creation of an old Christmas village.
Tickets are $25 and include bus transportation, driver's gratuity, coffee and doughnuts served before departure, and door prizes, games, raffles and movies on the bus.
Information: Jane Huffman, 410-255-0921, or Robin Browning, 410-867-3181.