For the folks at Hairston Lake, National Night Out actually took place in the early afternoon.
No matter. Neighbors fellowshipped with other neighbors, enjoyed a cook-out, and learned about looking out for themselves and each other.
"Basically [it's about] safety and getting to know your neighbors," said Ernest Flemister, homeowners association president at Hairston Lake on Hairston Road. The community is mostly senior citizens and handicapped people, he said.
The annual involves over 11,000 communities from all 50 states, U.S. territories, Canadian cities and military bases around the world. In all, over 35 million people are expected to participate in "America's Night Out Against Crime."
National Night Out and other events such as bingo at Hairston Lake are also opportunities to get people out of the house. "A lot of people are tired of looking at the four walls," Flemister said.
At the end of Rays Road in the Les Chateaux community, neighbors celebrated National Night Out with a potluck.
The event helped "bring homeowners together," said homeowners association president Chandra Robinson.
"I think it helps the neighborhood to where people are no longer strangers," said 18-year Les Chateaux resident Brenda Maddox. "People tend to take a little more pride because we're looking out for each other. You really know your neighbors. It's really more of a family."
The Shadow Rock Acres neighborhood off W. Mountain St. had about 30 people show up at its event, in which hot dogs, chips and Klondike bars were served, said event coordinator Jeanette Doolittle. DeKalb County police and the sheriff's department also visited, and kids received goodie bags.
"It gives us a one-on-one relationship with the police department, which I think is necessary," Doolittle said of the annual event.
The group at Hairston Lake got a visit from DeKalb County police officers as well as DeKalb Solicitor General Sherry Boston, who passed out "files of life" so people can write down pertinent, easily accessible medical information for in case of an emergency.
"I think it's a good thing," Zenith Stevens, 72, said of National Night Out. "You learn how to protect yourself and get to know your officers. You're never too old to learn."