In the day, slashers Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers or Freddy Krueger ruled the October night, but now a new fear has gripped Americans. This fear is terrorism.
From the surprise attacks in September to the ongoing anthrax scare, many citizens do not want to even associate anything related to horror.
This has left parents urging children to find “friendlier” Halloween costumes to wear.
That’s not to say goblins and deformed face masks won’t be seen around Cedartown trick or treating, but one could safe guess these appearing in a lesser form.
But despite the element of the unknown, haunted house traditions are still going strong.
For those more fearless, two haunted houses are being held in Rome: One’s a returning crowd favorite and the other has relocated to the old Riverbend Mall.
In Cedartown, though, children will observe Hometown Halloween on Wednesday, Oct. 31, and participate in trick-or-treat activities in the downtown area.
Children ages 12 and under are encouraged to roam the sidewalks between 4:30 and 6 p.m.
A group photograph of all children will be taken on the steps of the Polk County Courthouse No. 2 shortly before they are allowed to trick-or-treat, according to Paul Pitts, Main Street manager and event coordinator.
A siren will sound shortly after and children will be given police escorts through the streets.
Pitts asks downtown merchants who will be participating in this event to decorate their doors with orange colors to let children and parents be aware of their participation.
He adds to make sure and stock up on lots of candy. In years past, the downtown area has witnessed hundreds of trick-or-treaters.
This time around, Pitts estimates to have a thousand.
Hometown Halloween is sponsored annually by the Cedartown Main Street Program and a host of local merchants.
Nearly 40 volunteers, representing a variety of backgrounds, have dedicated more than 1,000 hours to transforming Riverbend Mall into Night Screams, a winding 10,000 square foot House of Fright.
Since its inception five years ago, this is the first year that Night Screams Haunted House has been held in Rome.
Previously organized through the Bartow County Sheriff’s Department, Night Screams was moved to Riverbend Mall at the request of several volunteers who wanted to offer a safe form of Halloween entertainment to their local community.
“We enjoy creating a spooky environment, while at the same time providing a fun and safe experience,” said Bob Sapp, who is spearheading the haunted house project. “We always tell people, this is the scariest fun you will ever have.”
Upon entering the Haunted House, all visitors will be loaned 3-D glasses, allowing them to view special 3-D displays created by Disney artists.
The Night Screams Haunted House will be open Oct. 31 and Nov. 2-3 from 7:30 p.m. until the crowds disappear.
The cost for adults will be $7 and the cost for children 11 and under will be $4. Children 6 and under will be admitted free of charge.
Night Screams is presented by South 107 and sponsored by other local businesses. In addition, many of the props and special effects used in the Haunted House have been donated by Six Flags Over Georgia.
Discount coupons valued at $2 will be available at various local businesses including Millican’s Foodland, Terry Simmons Insurance, Rome Ford, REMAX of Rome, American Fast Photo and Camera, Culbreth-Carr-Watson Animal Clinic, East Rome Risk Reduction Program and Starling’s Auto Clean Plus, Ace Hardware of Lindale and Country Gentlemen Restaurant.
The Rome Jaycees will once again have their House of Horrors at the Coosa Valley Fairgrounds on Oct. 31.
Doors open at 8 p.m. and admission is $5.