To date, the first annual Halloween Walk extravaganza is scheduled to kick off at 5:30 p.m. and the last group of children should be rounded up by no later than 9 p.m. Local town merchants will start handing out candy as well around 3:30 p.m.
The purpose behind detouring traffic from the neighborhood is to allow this year’s ghouls and goblins to roam the night streets as they will be able venture door to door in search of Halloween delights without the danger that automobiles traditionally pose during this time. The only drivers who will be allowed to pass through the barricade will be local residents and citizens who are experiencing some type of medical emergency.
“As this is the first annual event, the town has decided to make it (Halloween) more festive and pedestrian friendly,” West Jefferson Mayor Dale Hudler explained.
Town officials are gearing up for what Hudler has billed as “a rocking Friday night.” Chief Brian Grogan will have his full West Jefferson Police Department staff at his disposal to ensure the event goes off without a hitch. Officers will blanket the trick-or-treat zone by foot, bicycle, and patrol car as they will be conducting normal police duties throughout the town as well.
Town Manager Greg McGinnis and Mayor Hudler are encouraging goblins as well as parents to park their vehicles along Main Street, the “Back Street”, West Jefferson Park, or at the picnic shelter at Church Street. McGinnis estimated that approximately 1,000 children and their parents will be attending the inaugural Halloween Walk and emphasized that safety will be the highest priority during the event.
Town and state officials also urged trick-or-treaters and their families to still exercise caution despite the absence of vehicles. Prior to last year’s Halloween, Gov. Mike Easley issued a press release containing tips and advice to help parents remain vigilant during the 2007 Halloween and future occasions. In Easley’s letter, the governor urged children to stay with their parents at all times and keep a flash light handy for poorly lit streets. Easley also stressed the importance of checking their child’s candy before they consume it and households dispensing candy should refrain from giving away home made items as well.
McGinnis also encourages Halloween patrons in the neighborhood to turn their porch lights on if they wish to participate in this year’s festivities.
Not to be overshadowed by the Halloween Walk, the West Jefferson Fire Department will have three fire trucks on display behind the Farmer’s Market on the backstreet to allow youngsters the chance to catch a close-up glance of the vehicles of local heroes.
The West Jefferson First Baptist Church will hold its annual “Trunk or Treat” in the church’s parking lot between 6 and 8 p.m. as they will have a Haunted House, tractor hay rides, and miniature horses as the event will be another safe alternative to other Halloween shenanigans.