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Night's a scream for young and old

November 01, 2006|by KAREN HANNA

HAGERSTOWN - Draped head to toe in black, 10-year-old Brad Bormann took on a one-word identity as he stalked from house to house Tuesday night: "Death."

In strongman suits, death masks, Renaissance gowns and pajamas, children of all ages prowled the streets during Hagerstown's trick-or-treating hours.

"I have a 4-year-old and a 20-year-old. My youngest daughter is a princess, and my oldest just has a pair of glasses," said Wayne Carter, a Civil War re-enactor who turned out in Confederate garb with his wife, a battle camp aide.

Brittany McElroy, 15, dismissed the notion that she was too old to go asking for candy.

"Pshh," she said when asked how old was too old. "I don't know, 20. People just do it to have fun, I guess. It's better than going and egging people's houses, I guess," Brittany said.

Wearing a black bag over the shoulders of a sweat shirt, Brittany conceded she had not bothered about dressing for the occasion.

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"This is my last year. I said that last year, but this year, I'm pretty sure," Brittany said outside of J & C Deli & Market on Concord Street.

Around the block, an older youth warned a passer-by to get back as he shook up the contents of a metal can. Then, he sprayed yellow silly string at a soda machine.

Children's screams pierced the night outside of a home on the corner of Church and Alexander streets, where Chris Wilt modeled the mask of a long-nosed monster. In the shadows cast by a strobe light, visitors could see a body lying in a small coffin on the porch.

Mothers reassured their children as the trick-or-treaters approached, and one boy wearing the mask of the killer in "Scream" backed away as Wilt beckoned.

"Come closer. Closer," Wilt said.

Halloween is his favorite holiday, said Wilt, who was waiting for his 11-year-old brother to return. The boy was supposed to be lying in the coffin, he explained.

"I've got a dummy in there right now," Wilt, 24, said.

Near Concord Street, a little girl cried as she tripped over a long dress and fell to the sidewalk. A man took her by the hand and urged her to continue.

For a family handing out candy nearby, the holiday sparked participation across the generations. Veraann "Sissy" Burnett toddled on a porch, while her older brother, 11-year-old Philip Burnett, slapped a red devil's mask from hand to hand.

Philip, who said he turned down an offer to go trick-or-treating, helped hand out candy.

"I just don't like it. I used to. It's bad for your teeth," Philip said.

Positioned in a walker, "Sissy," was dressed up with nowhere to go but the top step of her grandmother's porch. She wore a clown suit, complete with a hat that seemed inclined to fall off.

"She had clown makeup on. She had white on her cheeks and red on her nose," said grandmother Martha Godlove. "She's only 7 months."

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