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It’s hard to believe that Halloween is only about a week away. October has certainly flown by with a mix of warm and cold temperatures coupled with beautiful fall foliage.

In the past week locally, that scenery has also seen some scary, funny, cute and wild things with the myriad community Halloween parades. Ghosts, goblins and more have roamed the routes handing out candy, and even more have stood along those routes with buckets and bags in hand to receive it.

Don’t forget the parties and safe trick-or-treat events, during which some costumes will receive prizes for the prettiest, funniest, scariest and most original.

For youngsters in Schuylkill County ages 12 and under, the opportunity to become one of the best-dressed trick-or-treater in Schuylkill County remains with The Republican-Herald’s 2012 Halloween Costume Challenge.

Entries are being accepted until noon Thursday, Oct. 25, 2012, at the newspaper’s website, www.republicanherald.com. To put your little one’s best costume in the contest, upload a digital photo from a camera or mobile device on the submission page. The photo will appear once it receives approval.

At 9 a.m. Friday, Oct. 26, the voting begins. People may log on to cast up to five votes per day through midnight Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012. The lucky winner will receive a $50 gift certificate from C&C Candies in Friedensburg and a $50 gift certificate from Playtime & Parties in Schuylkill Haven.

If creative costumes aren’t among your greatest strengths, then why not carve a jack-o’-lantern and enter your Halloween craft in The Republican-Herald’s 2012 Jack-O’-Lantern Competition? This event is open to young and old, but if you’re a professional sculptor you are asked to hold back and let the amateurs take the spotlight.

Entries will be accepted in the same way as the costume challenge. Simply shoot a digital photo and upload to the designated submission page on the newspaper’s website. Choose your best creation, as only one entry per person will be permitted.

Jack-o’-lantern entries will be accepted through noon Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012. At 9 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 31, the voting begins and concludes at 11:59 p.m. that day. Like the costume challenge, you may place up to five votes on Halloween for your favorite pumpkin.

More prizes up for grabs? You bet! The top pumpkin carver receives $50 gift certificates from Maroons Sports Bar and Grill, Pottsville; McKeansburg Hotel; Pine Creek Country Gardens, Friedensburg, Deward & Lengle, also of Friedensburg; and the Schuylkill Mall, courtesy of MRD Lumber.

So get your creative juices flowing and your cameras a-snapping. You just might be rewarded for your efforts! Good luck, and have fun!