Pat and Alton Gallahan decorated Cherry Hill Farm and Orchard a few weeks ago with the expectation that 30,000 schoolchildren would take field trips to the family farm in Clinton.
They put up 530 scarecrows in the field, decorated the woods with Dorothy, the Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion and other characters from "The Wizard of Oz," and put pumpkins and gourds all around.
"It's all kinds of fun," Pat Gallahan said.
But for the past two weeks, day after day, schools have called to cancel their trips to the Gallahan family farm.
"It's hurting everybody," Pat said.
Cherry Hill Farm and other businesses in Prince George's have each been affected differently by the sniper shootings in the Washington area that began Oct. 2 and heightened here Oct. 7, when a 13-year-old boy was shot in front of his middle school in Bowie.
Businesses such as Cherry Hill that are dependent on schoolchildren have been hit the hardest because of security measures at local schools that are keeping children indoors.
"The school days are dead," Alton said. "We do nothing."
A few private schools are still coming, and the weekends are bustling, but compared with the past 46 years, this winter's finances will be slim because of fall's low attendance. To boost income, the Gallahan's started offering to take pumpkins, apples, mums, straw and apple-cider doughnuts to the schools. Administrators are showing some interest, they said.
Shoppers and diners are also staying inside. Chicago-based online grocer Peapod, affiliated in this area with Giant Food, has seen a steep increase in grocery orders in the Washington region in the past week. To keep up with the orders, the company will use more vans and keep more employees on call to deliver groceries.
"We're selling out a lot quicker than normal," said Annette McMillan, company spokeswoman in Chicago. "We're going to put more people on staff so that we can deliver more orders to try to help the situation out there."
Over the weekend, the parking lot of the Giant Food grocery store along Route 197 between Laurel and Bowie was half-empty. Inside the cavernous store, there was no waiting at the checkout line. According to store clerks, business was unusually light for a Saturday.
"It's been like this all week," clerk Jesse Wacky said.
At Bowie Town Center, officials have seen a slight reduction in shoppers.
"We saw business slow down a bit traffic-wise," said Melissa Gott, spokeswoman for Simon Properties -- owner of Bowie Town Center. "It's rebounding. At this point we're quickly reovering."
Seattle-based Starbucks Corp. decided to eliminate all the outside seating at their 160 coffee shops in the Washington region in response to the sniper shootings.
"Anything that could put our customers or our employees in danger is our biggest concern," spokeswoman Shannon Jones said. "As soon as this is resolved, it will be a moot point."
BirchKo Tashu, a store clerk at the Citgo Gas Station and 7-Eleven in New Carrollton, said the situation is scary for everybody. Gas stations have been a primary target for the shooter.
"I am worried," Tashu said. "I pray for people pumping their gas because they can't watch their backs."
In nearby College Park, business is increasing at one small shop as residents try to buy peace of mind. Sales at Schelin's Guns has jumped from about four guns a day to eight.
"Most of the people who come in to buy guns are getting them for personal protection," part-owner John Schelin said. "There have been incidents before that get people more interested in guns."