Simply a treat

Deepa Bharath

Anthrax scares and terrorist threats did not discourage the little

ghosts, goblins, monsters and fairies who came to Fashion Island's annual

Halloween event.

Several children and their parents walked around the center holding

little pumpkin candy baskets in their hands that soon filled up with

treats the merchants and businesses there supplied.

Most parents said they were not going to allow terrorist threats to

force them to give up celebrating a holiday their children enjoy.

Erin Kato of Huntington Beach said she will "celebrate with caution"

this year.

"Given what's going on, I don't feel safe anywhere -- in the mall or

on the street," said the mother of two children, ages 4 and 5. "But we're

going to go trick-or-treating in my in-laws' neighborhood, which is

really safe."

Julia Browne, a Corona del Mar resident, said she feels safer because

of increased security everywhere.

"We come here every year, and this year is no different," she said.

"And we'll go trick-or-treating to our neighbors' after we get home."

Some merchants at the center were also sensitive to parents'

heightened fears this year. Imaginarium, a toy store, was handing out

toys and trinkets instead of candy.

"We started it this year because people are scared," store supervisor

Peggy Enriquez said.

The mall also provided a beautiful and safe environment to celebrate

the holiday, said Karen Freeman, a Newport Beach resident.

She said this year her older children will carry walkie-talkies while

escorting their younger siblings, just to be safe.

"We're definitely going to celebrate this year," Freeman said, "but

with heightened awareness."

* Deepa Bharath covers public safety and courts. She may be reached at

(949) 574-4226 or by e-mail at o7 deepa.bharath@latimes.comf7 .

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