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ITHACA, N.Y. — Halloween is less than a week away and there are reasons to wear your costume all weekend long.

There are parades, festivals and opportunities to trick or treat at local businesses.

Trick or Treat Downtown

On Friday, put on your costume for the parade starting at the Greater Ithaca Activities Center and ending at the Ithaca Commons. From there, kids can trick or treat from 4 to 6 p.m. at participating businesses downtown. Stores taking part will have a “Trick-or-Treat” sign displayed in their storefront window. Stores on the Commons, Aurora Street, Cayuga Street and inside the Dewitt Mall are included.

During that time, there will be music, face painting, games, chili, cornbread and punch made by the GIAC Teen Catering Program in Center Ithaca.

Halloween Parade and Fall Festival at the Shops at Ithaca Mall

The Halloween Parade begins at 11 a.m. Saturday in front of Jump Around Inflatables. The festival will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. To register for the Mall-oween Parade, visit the registration table in the Food Court from 4 to 8 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday or from 3 to 7 p.m. Friday. Pre-registration is required. A $3 registration fee covers each child’s trick-or-treat bag and parade entry.

Wizarding Weekend

This weekend is packed with events for Ithaca’s third Wizarding Weekend. The festival will last two days and will include wizard duels, wizard chess, quidditch, food and gift vendors, crafts, performances and other events. Visit the website for a full list of festivities.

Trick or Treating

There are no set times for trick-or-treating in the City of Ithaca. In preparation for the spooky holiday, the Ithaca Fire Department has provided some tips to stay safe this Halloween.

  • Choose a light-colored costume or add glow-in-the-dark tape to the front and back of the costume so your kids can be easily seen
  • Don’t buy a costume unless it’s labeled “flame-retardant.” This means the material won’t burn
  • Put a name tag — with your phone number — on your children’s costumes.
  • Accompany young children (under age 10) on their rounds. But make sure they know their home phone number, the cell phone numbers of parents and any other trusted adult who’s supervising, and how to call 911 in case they get lost
  • For older kids who are trick-or-treating on their own, make sure you approve of the route they’ll be taking and know when they’ll be coming home. Also be sure that they:
  • Carry a cell phone, if possible
  • Go in a group and stay together
  • Only go to houses with porch lights on and walk on sidewalks on lit streets
  • Never go into strangers’ homes or cars
  • Give kids flashlights with new batteries
  • Limit trick-or-treating to your neighborhood and the homes of people you and your children know
  • When your kids get home, check all treats to make sure they’re safely sealed and there are no signs of tampering, such as small pinholes, loose or torn packages, and packages that appear to have been taped or glued back together.
  • Don’t allow young children to have hard candy or gum that could cause choking.
  • While children can help with designing a Pumpkin/Jack O’ Lantern, leave the carving to adults
  • Always keep Jack O’ Lanterns and hot electric lamps far away from drapes, decorations or areas where children and pets will be standing or walking
  • Use only battery operated candles instead of open flames.

Featured image: Jack-o-lanterns by William Warby/Flickr

Kelsey O'Connor

Kelsey O'Connor is the managing editor for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at koconnor@ithacavoice.com and follow her on Twitter @bykelseyoconnor.