At least 1,500 of the city’s super heroes, princesses, cowboys and scary characters will gather Thursday night for a community party, along with their parents.

Children from outside Pekin’s city limits are also invited to the 15th annual Night Out Against Crime, what has become the city’s combined public unity promotion and Halloween party, at the Avanti’s Dome.

“No one will be turned away,” police Public Information Officer Billie Ingles said Wednesday.

The Police Department expects a 3,000-plus turnout for the event that’s organized by the city’s Police Department, with aid from the Fire Department and AMT ambulance service, and sponsored by about 30 local businesses.

Pekin School District 108 distributed invitations to the event among its students, who will wear their season’s Halloween costumes as they go trick-or-treating to 29 booths staffed by businesses and local family service organizations.

The candy, however, can wait until after the kids dine on the 1,500 hot dogs and sodas donated for the evening’s dinner.

The dome’s doors will open at 6 p.m. for the two-hour event. Its huge overhead doors on the building’s east side will be lifted to prevent long lines at its main entrance, Ingles said. Shuttle buses also will be available in the parking lot.

Children with disabilities and those who have trouble dealing with large crowds can enter an hour earlier, but first must obtain passes available at the police department’s headquarters.

Ingles said attractions will include inflated bounce houses, a popular laser tag maze, carnival rides and a rock-climbing wall for the older kids. Fire trucks and police squad cars will be in place for inspection.

Ahen, the police department’s K-9 unit, will show off his trained skills with his handler, Officer Rob Jones, at 7:15 p.m. Pekin Community High School art students will paint faces, and Doug Smith will give away his intricate balloon sculptures.

As in previous Night Outs, a raffle will be held to give away eight donated bicycles and helmets for various age groups.

The event will mark the ninth year that Night Out has been held at the dome. It’s grown significantly at that venue from its beginnings as a picnic-like gathering at Mineral Springs Park.

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