Pirates, super heroes, princesses, tigers, mad scientists, lions, storybook characters and more will be seen roaming the streets soon as Halloween is looming ever closer.

All of these crazy characters will have the opportunity this year to wear their costumes more than once as the Town Halloween Party is scheduled for the Sunday before Halloween while citywide trick-or-treating will remain on the traditional day of Oct. 31.

"When Halloween falls on a weekday like it does this year, parents have said how challenging and rushed it is to get their kids from school, home, dressed in their costumes and to the Town Halloween Party," explained Beary Patch Preschool teacher Bethany Bergsgaard.

"We decided to switch the party to the weekend (before) to try and make it more enjoyable for everyone and less rushed. Plus, if they go trick-or-treating on Halloween they'll get to wear their costumes twice!"

Early Halloween celebrations

The Town Halloween Party that is sponsored by ECFE, Beary Patch Preschool, the city of Spring Grove and Spring Grove Commercial Club will be from 4 to 6 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 28, at the Fest Building.

Youth Development students will be supervising a variety of games and crafts for children sixth grade and under. A meal of hotdogs, apples, bananas, popcorn and milk will also be served and is free for these children. For $3 per person, adults and older siblings may also eat the meal.

Just prior to the Town Halloween Party, children decked out in their costumes are invited to trick-or-treating at Tweeten Lutheran Healthcare Center from 3 to 4:30 p.m.

"The residents just love seeing kids at any time," remarked Gloria Speltz, activities director. "But, I know they will be extra excited and happy to see the children in all of their creative costumes. It will really make them smile!"

Children are invited to trick-or-treat throughout the facility entering through the main entrance.

Trick-or-Treating on Oct. 31

The official day of Halloween, Wednesday, Oct. 31, will still be celebrated with trick-or-treating throughout town.

Early in the day on Halloween, the wee ones will also have the opportunity to trick-or-treat at businesses in Spring Grove.

The Commercial Club has asked local businesses to participate in a trick-or-treating event for daycare and preschool aged children from 10 a.m. to noon. Participating businesses will have a paper pumpkin on the door or window signifying that treats are available there.

In the evening, older children decked out in their costumes can visit homes where the lights are on.

Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF

Children in grades kindergarten through sixth grade also have the opportunity to trick-or-treat for something that will benefit kids in need.

Two high school students, Lexie Rains and Kendra Prahl, are coordinating a Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF (The United Nations Children's Fund) event.

They are talking to all the classrooms in kindergarten through sixth grade regarding this project that they are doing for RTL (Ready To Learn).

The children will all be given special boxes to take along with them when they trick-or-treat and they will be asking town residents to donate a small amount.

"We thought this sounded like a neat project when our adviser told us about it," commented Prahl. "Even if people give just a quarter to each child that asks, it'll add up to a lot when we pool it all together. I like the idea of being able to help other kids that might not have much food or even good drinking water."

The students will be bringing home information and their boxes from school. They are asked to return the boxes and money collected by Friday, Nov. 2, so that Prahl and Rains can total the amount and write a check to UNICEF for all that was collected.

"As one of the longest-running youth volunteer initiatives in the U.S., Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF has a deep-rooted history of child empowerment. For children, it provides an outlet to express who they are, while also helping kids in need around the world." (www.unicefusa.org).

This is the 62nd year of this campaign that has raised, to date, more than $167 million for UNICEF's lifesaving programs.