Terrorist scare turns into witch hunt

| Friday, October 31, 2003

A massive security alert at the heart of the U.S. government was triggered Oct. 30 by a Halloween costume, police have revealed.

As if on broomsticks, armed police and special response teams swooped toward the Cannon House Office Building on Capitol Hill after reports a gunman had slipped through security and disappeared into the hallways.

The building was locked down and evacuated. Internet news sites and television stations carried up-to-the-minute reports of the latest developments.

Later, it emerged that what security officers had seen on their X-ray machine was a toy gun.

The fake weapon was part of a Halloween costume being brought in by two staff members.

Capitol police later said no mischief was meant by the workers who caused the security scare, which lasted about two hours.