TOPEKA (KSNT) – With growing safety concerns in the Capital City, some Topeka neighborhoods are hosting events to replace trick-or-treating this Halloween.
ShaMecha King Simms, president of Historic Old Town Neighborhood Improvement Association (NIA), told 27 News child safety is at the top of people’s minds this year. She said schools and churches in her area, like Grace Episcopal Cathedral, have been hosting community Halloween events for the past few years.
“Families feel a lot better about knowing these are reputable nonprofits or organizations that are tied to a community that they can count on,” King Simms said. “So it kind of lessens the opportunities for shenanigans to happen, and we definitely want folks to feel safe.”
King Simms is also the chair of Citizen Advisory Council, which oversees 21 of the neighborhood associations. She said there are family-friendly alternative events, like trunk-or-treats or parades happening all over Topeka this weekend.
Open Arms Ministries, a church located in East Topeka, is doing their own safe Halloween event called ‘Angels Night.’
“We’re going to get together and make a safe community for youth for the kids to come out,” Dumyat Mitchell, the youth president at Open Arms Ministries, said. We’re going to have candy, we’re going to have bobbing for apples, we’re going to have all different events for the kids to enjoy themselves.”
Mitchell said the church wants neighborhood kids to feel supported. He said their Halloween event is designed to be a safe night, allowing kids to still dress up in costumes and stock up on candy without wandering door-to-door on dark streets.
“I figure if we bring them together and they’re able to see a friendly face when we’re out and about around here, they’ll know that that guy, he’s alright,” Pastor Samuel C. Mitchell said. “That’s Father Mitchell, that’s Sister Cunningham, that’s Sister Stephanie. So, they’ll know they’re not just among strangers when they walk outside of their door.”
Pastor Mitchell told 27 News their safe event is about more than just Halloween. He said he wants kids in his neighborhood to feel like they’re getting the experiences other kids are having, without putting themselves in danger.
Open Arms Ministries is having its Angels Night Oct. 28 from 2-5 p.m. at 2401 SE 11th St.
To find Halloween events in your area, click here.