Trick or Treat night moved to Saturday

PAT FRIDGEN

Fervent arguments from a group of women convinced Greencastle Borough Council to move borough-sanctioned Trick or Treating from Thursday evening to Saturday this year. Oct. 31 falls on the weekend and a new resident to Antrim Township asked for the switch. The children's door to door visits have been on the last Thursday of the month for as long as anyone could remember, but no one was sure of the reason.

Ericka Nelson, 766 Shannon Drive, had submitted a letter in advance, especially concerned about out-of-town families coming to Greecastle on the Thursdays because their own communities sponsored the event on Oct. 31. "They get two days of Trick or Treating and we get an influx of Trick or Treaters from neighboring areas, and streets full of non-residents sitting in their cars driving up and down our streets, just to collect candy and treats."

Nelson also appeared in person Monday night to stress the dangers of the congested streets, with some cars coming from as far as West Virginia. Due to the lack of sidewalks in some parts of the borough and in township developments, narrow streets and limited or no street lights, she hoped to reduce the traffic by changing nights. She expected the strangers would stay in their own communities if Greencastle's Trick or Treat night was also Oct. 31 each year.

Karin Johnson agreed that the streets were packed and the influx of kids created an "enormous candy expense." She also didn't favor Trick or Treating on a school night. Shari Morgan wanted Halloween to be celebrated on Halloween. Nelson had a letter of support from another parent and two others sat in the audience.

The council members were split. Michele Emmett whole-heartedly supported the measure and Duane Kinzer found Nelson's arguments compelling. Mark Singer cautioned that not every car was from other parts of the county or states. Antrim Township residents would be driving around, as well as people who lived in Greencastle. Craig Myers liked the Thursday tradition and had benefitted as a child from also going to other towns. Harry Foley said moving the date would conflict with established parades in area communities, which many people liked to attend on the Friday, Saturday or Monday surrounding Halloween.

"Life is full of choices," Emmett replied. "Make one." She said Greencastle could move its Friday parade once every seven years, which could allow the high school band to participate, which it does not do now because of football games.

The Emmett/Kinzer motion to observe Halloween each year from 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 31 passed 4-3 with Paul Schemel and Myers also voting yes. Singer, Foley and Charles Eckstine voted no. However, the motion was interpreted and recorded as applying only to 2009, so the issue will likely surface again next fall.

"We'll see how it goes this year," said Myers.

Parade

The council also approved a request by Nathan Nardi, Greencastle Exchange Club president, to hold the club's annual Halloween parade on Friday, Oct. 30 at 7 p.m. That required a police escort and the closing and rerouting of traffic on Baltimore street.

Registration will be at 6 p.m. at the Jerome R. King Playground with lineup done on North Carlisle Street. The route is south on Carlise, east onto Baltimore Street at Center Square, north on Allison Street, west on Walter Avenue back to the park.

Nardi said there would be no rain date and weather-related announcements would be made at 2:30.