Originally created 10/17/01

Augusta officials forecast happy Halloween



The only thing officials expect to spook the city this Halloween will be trick-or-treaters and the occasional ghost story.

Although the nation may be on edge from recent anthrax scares and rumors of impending terror attacks, local officials say they don't expect anything to ruin children's plans for Oct. 31. But some precautionary measures are being skipped to avoid giving Augustans a false sense of security.

Medical College of Georgia Hospital will not make its traditional offer to X-ray candy for wary trick-or-treaters this year because it doesn't want to send the wrong message, said spokesman Steven Padgett.

"In light of everything that is going on, we don't want to create a false sense of security because of the limits of what X-ray can detect," Mr. Padgett said.

University Hospital usually offers to X-ray candy and will again this year, although officials aren't sure what to expect because of the recent anthrax scare, spokeswoman Rebecca Sylvester said.

Doctors Hospital. spokeswoman Ginger Tyra said: "We're going to be doing the candy X-raying. We're just going to be clear that all we can detect are metal objects."

Although the city last year asked residents to trick-or-treat on Saturday because Halloween fell on a Sunday, no such requests will be made this year, Mayor Bob Young said.

"We would hope that children would continue to trick-or-treat with adult supervision," Mr. Young said. "Perhaps parents might want to be a little more selective about where they go."

David Dlugolenski, Richmond County's emergency-management director, said his agency is not approaching Halloween differently than any other day.

"There's no known threat that we are aware of right now directed toward Augusta," he said.

Reach Heidi Coryell Williams and Tom Corwin at (706) 724-0851.