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Dickinson Park Districts' Recreation and Facility Specialist Wilson McLaughlin, left, along with Matt Mack, recreation and facility supervisor, decorate the National Guard Armory in Dickinson on Monday for a Halloween Party to held there on Thursday.

Halloween events planned in area

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Area residents and organizations are observing Halloween in different ways. Some choose to embrace trick-or-treating, some have cancelled events due to fear of catching illnesses, and some use the event as a teaching tool for their faith.

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The Freedom Baptist Fellowship (southern Baptist church) in Dickinson normally offers a Harvest Festival with faith-based games and activities as an alternative to other Halloween traditions. However, the event has been cancelled due to illnesses.

Ben Hegstad, a member of the church, said his family will still celebrate the holiday a little differently than many.

"We just try to do things differently to basically use it as a teaching moment," Hegstad said. "Where the difference lies is just trying to use it for the glory of God, rather than just gorging on candy."

He said his family will likely go trick-or-treating, but will be using the experience to visit with others about their faith.

"I think of it as an opportunity to go out, while you're trick-or-treating, maybe pass out some gospel tracks and try to visit with people," Hegstad said.

He added he is not a fan of gory or demonic costumes.

Dickinson Catholic Schools will only have Halloween activities for preschool and kindergarten.

"It gets to be kind of a disruption," said Rocky Cofer, Trinity High School principal. "We just feel that it would interfere a little too much with our mission here."

However, DCS preschool will dress up in costumes Thursday and kindergarteners will dress up on Friday, said Peggy Mayer, DCS elementary principal.

Dickinson Public Schools will hold different fall or Halloween-related activities during the week and some schools are encouraging students to dress up in a certain theme. For example, Heart River students are encouraged to dress up in circus-related costumes, but can wear any costume they'd like, said Sherry Libis, principal.

Several community events are planned for this week, beginning with the Dickinson Parks and Recreation Annual Halloween Party on Thursday.

The event is for children in Third Grade and younger and will be held at the Dickinson National Guard Armory from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

The event features a "haunted room," with flashing lights and Halloween characters as well as several games, said Wilson McLaughlin recreation facility specialist

"Everybody goes away with something," McLaughlin said.

The Prairie Hills Mall is holding "Malloween" from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday, with photographs at 3 p.m.

Peggy O'Brien, mall manager, said all the merchants at the mall participate and offer candy and other treats to trick-or-treaters.

"Prairie Hills Mall created 'Malloween' as a way to provide a safe and fun community event, as well as allow kids and adults alike the opportunity to show off costumes, while spending time with neighbors, friends, and family," O'Brien said.

She said the event is for all ages and several mall employees will be wearing costumes.

Dan Porter Motors Annual Treat Street will be held at the Days Hotel in Dickinson from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Local businesses rent out a block of rooms in the hotel, decorate them for Halloween and children of all ages go trick-or-treating at the rooms, said Susie Lefor, who helps coordinate the event.

"Some rooms are decorated really terrifying and some are really kid-ish. You just don't know what you're getting into when you go in and out," Lefor said, adding children of all ages are welcome. "Our goal is definitely for the safety of the children in Southwest North Dakota."

Halloween events were planned for St. Luke's Home and St. Benedict's Health Center, but both have been cancelled to keep residents from catching illnesses.

"With the flu in the community we don't want to spread it to the residents," said Joyce Decker, activities director at St. Luke's. "We're just not having any trick-or-treaters this year."

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