Getting ‘squared away’

Published 1:19 am Friday, October 30, 2009

Organizers hope the weather won’t dampen the fun at Saturday night’s Halloween on the Square, but they have a back-up plan in place if the weather forecasters predicting rain for Saturday are correct.

Dwight Mikel, director of leisure services for the City of Andalusia, said he’s arranged for merchants who want to set up indoors at the fair to do so if weather prevents the 10th annual Halloween event.

Duke Smith, who coordinates Halloween on the Square for the Andalusia Department of Leisure Services, said there are 32 merchants participating this year, and he and his helpers have delivered 500,000 pieces of candy.

Trick-or-treating is open from 5:30 p.m. until 8 p.m., and Keith Williams and Second Nature from Tuscaloosa will perform until 9 p.m.

Traffic will be blocked on the square beginning at 4:30 to make the event as safe as possible for youngsters.

The organizers also are asking for a little cooperation.

“This event was designed for elementary-age children and younger,” Mikel said. “We’ve had some complaints about the congestion and the older youth who participate.

“We hope everyone will come and enjoy the fun, but we’d like to remind everybody that the trick-or-treating is for young children,” he said. “Teens and adults shouldn’t be in the trick-or-treat lines unless they are escorting a small child. There is no excuse for adults walking around trick-or-treating.”

Mikel said if the public doesn’t cooperate, the city might be forced to enforce height limitations for trick-or-treaters.

“That’s not really fair, because I’ve been over at the elementary school this morning and there are some tall kids,” he said. “But we’ll have to find some way to address it.”

There’s plenty for teens to enjoy – including music – without participating in an event meant for small children, he said.

Meanwhile, if the weather moves the event indoors, it will be at the Covington Center Arena, he said.

“If that’s the case, they’ll have to pay admission to the fair, but they will still have a safe, dry place to go trick-or-treating,” he said.

Both Mikel and Smith said they’re not sure how large of a crowd to expect. While in years past Halloween on the Square has been the “only game in town,” this year, it is competing with the Kiwanis Covington County Fair, similar trick-or-treat events in Opp and Red Level, and a youth football event at Straughn.