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Many get into Halloween spirit in the Riverside Neighborhood

Kaitlyn Price photo

The Dean family decorated this home on East Grand Avenue in Everett for the annual Riverside Neighborhood Halloween contest. Summer Dean’s decorations include twinkly orange lights, gravestones, skeletons and more. There are six contest categories: best overall, best theme, best daytime, best nighttime, scariest and best block. Home nominations among neighbors close Saturday, Oct. 21.

EVERETT — Most folks think Halloween is supposed to be fun, festive, and at least a little bit scary.
The Riverside Neighborhood in northeast Everett has embraced all three of these elements by sponsoring an annual Halloween decorating contest with the hope of transforming Riverside into a “frightfully, delightful community.” So says the neighborhood association’s website.  
This year’s theme is “Graveyard.” There are a lot of faux bones about already, including a sitting
skeleton wearing a hooded black jacket and playing the guitar.
Pamela Lynn, co-chair of the Riverside Neighborhood Association and contest coordinator, said this marks the eighth year for the Halloween competition.   
The community has sponsored a holiday decorating contest in December for 20 years.
Past Halloween themes have been “Broomsticks and Goblins,” “Jack O’Lanterns and Spiders,” “Ghosts and Skeletons,” “Something a Little Alien” and simply “Trick or Treat.”
The contest, which is open only to Riverside residents, has six categories: Grand (best overall), best theme, best daytime, best nighttime, best scariest, and best block. Nominations are due Saturday, Oct. 21, and the winners are publicly announced at the neighborhood’s next monthly meeting in November — although those chosen are notified in person and receive a sign for their yard.
Keep in mind the scary aspects of Halloween can impact some young children.
About a decade ago a Penn State psychologist, who studied 6- and 7-year-olds near Philadelphia, found that “most parents underestimate just how terrifying (Halloween) can be for young kids,” according to a report by NBC News.
Some therapists say young children cannot always distinguish between fantasy and reality, even if parents try to make the distinction for them.
“As we approach Halloween, it is important for adults to remember to be sensitive to the needs of children,” Darcia Narvaez, Ph.D. wrote in a “Psychology Today” blog.
While judges and onlookers are trolling the Riverside neighborhood for the best—and scariest—decorations, some community clergy will be busy with, shall we say, near-scary activities.
“We want to be part of the fun, too,” said John Shorb, family life pastor at Bethany Christian Assembly in the neighborhood. But as a parent, he also wants “something safe” for his kids.
Bethany is gearing up for 1,000 kids and adults at its “Pumpkin Patch Party” on Halloween night, according Shorb, who says the church has hosted from 600 to 1,200 participants in past years. The party, which is open to parents and kids from birth to 5th grade, runs from 6 to 8:30 p.m. and features a “Mad Science Show” at 8 p.m.   
Costumes are encouraged, as long as they are not too scary or “fringy,” Shorb said.
  The Jubilee Church of God in Christ, also in the Riverside neighborhood, will host a “Hallelujah Youth Fest” on Halloween from 6 to 8:30 p.m. to give “an alternative for the children” in a “safe, controlled environment,” said Alvin C. Moore, pastor at Jubilee.
The youth fest is free and open to all ages. Participants may wear costumes, as long as they are “positive,” said Moore, so no Dracula, witches, demons, or the like.


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