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It's that time of year again -- time to carve a jack-o-lantern, pick out a costume, and stockpile candy as we prepare for Halloween. The history of Halloween has its roots in Celtic traditions. In the nineteenth century, Irish and Scottish immigrants carried versions of the tradition to North America. Here at Fort Detrick, several activities have been planned throughout the week to celebrate the season.

* The Fort Detrick Chapel Community will sponsor Harvest Fest on Friday, Oct. 26. This Halloween alternative will include games, face-painting, and autumn treats. Children of all ages are encouraged to wear costumes that are fun and "not so scary." Harvest Fest will take place at the Odom Fitness Center 6-8 p.m. For more information, contact the Post Chapel at (301) 619-7371.

* Child Youth and School Services will host a Costume Bingo Boo Bash on Saturday, Oct. 27, 1-4 p.m. The event will include 12 Spooky BINGO games, a costume contest for ages 0-12, games, prizes, and food.

* On the same date, CYSS will also host a high school trip to the Field of Screams Haunted House in Baltimore. The bus will leave the CYSS Teen Center at 5 p.m.

**Please note that pre-registration is highly encouraged for both CYSS events. For more information or to register, call 301-619-2901.

* Finally, the Trick-or-Treat event for children living in family housing areas on Fort Detrick will be conducted on Wednesday, Oct. 31, 6-8 p.m. If you wish to pass out candy, please leave your porch light on during these hours.

Although there are many fun aspects of Halloween, this time of year also comes with risks. Follow these basic safety tips:

Costumes:

- When selecting a costume, ensure that is fire resistant and will not pose a choking or tripping hazard.

- Wear well-fitting masks, costumes, and shoes to avoid blocked vision, trips, and falls.

- Test make-up in a small area first before applying to prevent reactions.

Trick-or-Treating:

- Children six years of age and under must be accompanied by an adult or sibling 13 years of age or older. Never allow children to trick-or-treat alone.

- Walk from door-to-door in large groups.

- Use a flashlight and wear reflective tape to ensure visibility.

- Look both ways before crossing the street.

- Walk, don't run, and use designated crosswalks when possible.

- Visit only well-lit houses of trusted neighbors, and never enter a house alone.

Candy:

- All treats should be inspected by an adult before eating.

- Avoid home-made treats made by strangers.

- Consider providing healthier treats for trick-or-treaters.

The Standard would like to wish everyone a safe and fun Halloween. For more safety tips, visit the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Centers for Disease Control's Family Health Division.