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VENTURA : Merchants Plan Events for a Safe Halloween

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Merchants in Ventura Harbor Village will offer children an alternative to trick-or-treating during three days of Halloween activities set to begin Friday.

Children ages 12 and under can take part in scavenger hunts, costume contests and tours of a haunted house, said Joe Carmody, president of the Boys & Girls Club of Ventura.

The weekend activities will continue through Halloween, he said.

The club is teaming up with harbor shop owners to sponsor the Haunted Harbor House for the second year, Carmody said.

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Ghouls and goblins will haunt the house in the building previously occupied by Berto’s Restaurant, he said.

Last year’s event drew more than 500 children, he said.

The planned activities will give children a safe place to go for Halloween, said Tricia Yates, the club’s program director.

“Halloween is supposed to be a time of fun, but a great many parents are uncomfortable with their children doing a lot of trick-or-treating,” Yates said.

Admission to the haunted house is $3, with a 50-cent discount to Boys & Girls Club members. All other activities are free.

Scheduled activities include:

* Friday and Saturday: 5 to 7 p.m., scavenger hunt; 7 to 9 p.m., haunted house.

* Sunday: 1 to 4 p.m., scavenger hunt; 6 to 9 p.m., haunted house.

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