Editorial: Increase security during holiday

Halloween is approaching. With the popular trick-or-treating that occurs across the nation, have come threats and possibilities of terrorist attacks. Although the FBI had debunked several threats as hoaxes, parents should be extra careful as they venture into the night with their children.

One of the most publicized threats is an e-mail telling people to stay away from malls on Oct. 31. Supposedly, a woman got the e-mail from someone who knew someone dating someone from Afghanistan who told the woman to stay off planes Sept. 11 and to avoid malls Halloween. E-mails featuring “a friend of a friend” have all been found to be hoaxes in the past, and the FBI said this particular message is also fraudulent.

While people should not overreact, there is no reason not to increase security and heighten alert in neighborhoods and malls Oct. 31. Halloween night has always been a night of oddities and strangeness, according to the St. Petersburg police. Animal shelters have stopped adopting out black cats for fear they may be sacrificed. Police routinely receive phone calls reporting pranks, odd behavior and tainted candy, according to the St. Petersburg Times.

All of this is common, but with recent scares of anthrax and the promise of future threats by the Taliban, Americans are worried. Increasing security at malls would help alleviate fears. There are ways for individual communities to help as well, and many of these are things that some already do during Halloween. Establishing communitywide trick-or-treat times, candy-check centers and visiting only houses that people are already familiar with are all good ways to be a little safer this year.

Oct. 31 is only few weeks away, giving everyone plenty of time to prepare extra security measures. There is no reason for parents to keep their children inside this year, but extra caution should be applied when enjoying this holiday.