Everett moms worried about needle epidemic create needle-free, safe zone for Halloween

EVERETT, Wash. -- A group of parents in Everett were pro-active about keeping their kids safe this Halloween.

Our area's opioid epidemic has some worried about what their kids might find on the street.

Tuesday night horror costumes were the most frightening thing you could see at Clark Park. A park that parents say was much scarier two years ago.

"Needles everywhere, aluminum foil. We’d find pipes," described Cate Harrington of the group "Take Back our Neighborhood Everett. "I refer to this park as an encampment -- two years ago it was basically a day center for people that were using drugs."

Harrington a local mom and the creator of the community Facebook page.

Needles littering a neighborhood are troubling any time of the year -- but they're especially scary on Halloween.

“We came in here one day and started taking pictures and when they realized that we were taking pictures, a couple of us--they threatened us, threatened to bash our heads into the concrete," said Harrington. "So we decided to take action at that point, because obviously it's not a safe environment for anybody."

Parents with trick-or-treaters are already watching for things like inattentive drivers and stranger danger--now many of them in Snohomish County are also watching for needles.

"It's beyond frightening levels,” said Harrington. “Its time to bring some good back into this park.”

Parents like Harrington say they're finding more and more drug paraphernalia on their neighborhood streets -- something making them especially cautious Tuesday night.

"It had a really bad reputation and nobody wanted to be here,” said Liz Robinson, a volunteer, passing out candy.

"Everybody has to work together," said Harrington, who says the success wouldn't be possible without a team of people. "This problem wasn’t created overnight. It’s a very big problem. It's way beyond anything that any one entity can take care of--it’s a community wide issue."

That’s why Harrington and a team of volunteers with ‘Take Back Our Neighborhood Everett' have spent months clearing garbage and drug paraphernalia out of Grant Park. The effort is part of a growing grassroots response to communities taking their own action.

"It effects the whole community so we should all be coming together to fight it," said Harrington.

The cleanup efforts have grown so much that the group held a free, family focused, drug free Halloween block party so kids can focus on more important things -- like candy.

"I'm so excited. I can't believe it—this for our first event in this park?!" said Robinson. "I'm on my second bucket of candy!"

As of right now 'Take Back our Neighborhood' is just a Facebook group with less than a dozen regular team members, but hope to soon become a nonprofit. Tuesday’s Halloween event is the first of many, in what they hope will become regular once a month events.