Open the door to a host of community Halloween events

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With Halloween around the corner, plans must be made. Along with the traditional parades and door-to-door candy grab, there's lots to see and do.

Many parents have moved away from an unsupervised festival of door bell ringing to a more careful mix of autonomy and planning. Oak Park parent Linda Vavra's approach is typical: her seventh grader will be allowed out with a group of three or four neighborhood friends to "trick-or-treat in a specified area we map out ahead of time with her," she says.

Block parties also are becoming an increasingly popular alternative; the Village of Oak Park has approved 37 requests to block streets for block parties over the Halloween weekend, with 14 set for Oct. 31.

No costumes are allowed at Brooks and Julian middle schools and Oak Park and River Forest High School. Students at Roosevelt Middle School in River Forest will be permitted to change into costumes for specific classroom parties. But elementary schools in Oak Park and River Forest are all having Halloween parades in their neighborhoods. For times, see the schedule below.

Here's a round-up of community Halloween celebrations in Oak Park and River Forest.

Oct. 28: River Forest Halloween Party: Carnival games, moonwalk, treats, arts and crafts, balloon making and more at the River Forest Community Center, 8020 Madison St. Come dressed in costume. $10 admission per child, ages 2-14, includes 10 free game tickets, project, clown performance and play land; register before Oct. 28 and receive five free game tickets. Adults enter free. 6:30 to 9 p.m. Call 771-6159.

Fireside Family Halloween from 7 to 8 p.m. at River Forest Public Library, 735 Lathrop Ave. Wear costumes and bring a flashlight for the library tour in the dark. Call 366-5205.

Oct. 29: Oak Park Halloween Festivities, from 10 a.m. to noon, start at the corner of Pleasant Street and Oak Park Avenue with a parade to Lake Street, led by Oak Park fire and police departments and Village President David Pope. Additional activities include pumpkin painting, trick-or-treating in area stores, face painting and crafts.

Oct. 30: Danza Viva Center for World Dance and Music, 46 Lake St., hosts a haunted house from 2 to 6 p.m., featuring mazes, fortunetelling, treat bags and dance lessons from Michael Jackson's "Thriller" at 4:30 and 5:30 p.m. ($10/$5 with costume); and a Halloween mask making workshop for adults and children from 1 to 4 p.m. ($35/$15 per child with parent). Price includes admission to the haunted house. Call 386-8681.

Oct. 31: Halloween parades are planned at all of the elementary schools. Parades kick off from Whittier at 12:30 p.m.; Hatch, Holmes and Mann in Oak Park and Lincoln (where students are encouraged to dress as characters from books) and Willard in River Forest at 1 p.m.; Lincoln and Beye in Oak Park at 1:15 p.m., and Irving and Longfellow at 1:30 p.m.

Trick or treat: The Oak Park and River Forest official trick or treat hours are from 3 to 7 p.m.

Be careful out there.

?#34;Katherine Galo

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