It’s a sad fact of modern life that trick-or-treating today seems to have become a risky business.

On Halloween night, most parents insist that their children only visit houses of known neighbors; but that makes for a relatively short evening in most cases.

And it’s a pity to spend all that time fashioning the perfect costume for a 30-minute stroll up and down the block.

“If only Halloween could be as exciting – yet safe – for our kids as it was for us,” many baby boomers say wistfully.

It can in Lake Highlands at the community Halloween Carnival. Thanks to the combined efforts of the Lake Highlands Exchange Club, Lake Highlands High School and Junior High, and the Forest Meadow Junior High, your kids can enjoy a safe evening packed with fun, food, prizes and more candy than a parent wants to contemplate.

The event takes place Oct. 31 from 6-9 p.m. at the Lake Highlands North Recreation Center, 9940 White Rock Trail.

More than 400 students will help organize the carnival. This year, the student volunteers will design and operate more than 20 carnival booths guaranteed to delight the younger members of the community. The entertainment is aimed at the pre-school and elementary school crowd

Unlike many events that attract throngs of children, this one is easy on the pocketbook, since it’s generously underwritten by the Exchange Club and local donors. Corny dogs, pizza and other classic carnival food will be sold for bargain prices, and admission is free. Activities are “pay as you go.”

The goal is to provide a safe, exciting family-oriented alternative to trick-or-treating. And since the best part about Halloween is dressing up, your kids won’t miss that if they attend this carnival in costume.

Even with the low prices on carnival fare, the event generates some profit each year. The proceeds are split between maintenance of the Lake Highlands North Recreation Center and five college scholarships for graduating students at Lake Highlands High School.

But those organizing the carnival say there’s a greater good that the community reaps from the event.

“The neat thing about this is the kids from the high school and junior high do all the work for nothing, just to make the younger kids happy,” says Bob Eckert, with the Exchange Club.

“It’s great training for the kids to see that even at their age, they can be involved in their community.”