Safe Zones mark milestone in O’Fallon neighborhood

Halloween is a time for kids and adults of all ages to come together as one community and indulge in all things ghouls and goblins. As with previous years, community leaders and local residents  are helping to keep everyone safe while the kids enjoy everything from costumes and candy, to hanging decorations and going to parties in the O’Fallon and Hyde Park neighborhoods.

Twenty-first ward Democratic committeewoman Laura Keys, a 30-year resident of O’Fallon Park, has been helping to make Halloween a fun time for north side kids for over a decade. She said trick-or-treating in her neighborhood is a time when kids and adults can come together as a community.

Since 2008, Keys has participated in the Halloween Safe Zone on her 4500 block of Athlone. She said the annual event sees adults dressing up along with the kids passing out candy and making sure kids were safe while having fun. She said over a hundred kids visit her house some years. But it wasn’t always that way.

Halloween celebrations had died off in her community due to a variety of reasons, including crime.

Former 21st Ward Alderman Antonio French believes safety fears and a breakdown in how neighbors know each other and interact with one another over the last 30 years caused  trick-or-treating to die out in north St. Louis. 10 years ago, he decided to bring it back with the introduction of Halloween Safe Zones.

Every year French buys as much as $2,000 of candy and distributes it to residents of the designated safe zone who agree to keep their porch lights on and hand out the candy to kids. This year, as in years past, the 4400 and 4500 blocks of Athlone, Holly and Red Bud will be the designated safe zone. According to French, police cars patrol the area and volunteers walk the six blocks keeping a watch on the kids. It’s been a big hit every year with hundreds of kids now coming to our neighborhood from all over the city and county.

“This year is our 10th year and I’m hoping to have more houses participate than ever before,” said French.

Meanwhile, in the 3rd Ward, Alderman Brandon Bosley is hosting the 4th Annual Hyde Park Neighborhood Spooktacular. Eventgoers can expect trick-or-treating and a haunted tunnel. Costumes are encouraged. The Spooktacular is Oct. 27 from 2pm until 7pm in Hyde Park.

Ashley Winters

Author: Ashley Winters

Ashley Winters is a staff reporter at The NorthSider. She's a north St. Louis native and a graduate of Columbia College Chicago. In the near future she plans to write and publish children's books. She can be reached at ashley.winters@thenorthsider.com

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