UPDATE: Um…Can a Town Actually “Not Sanction” Halloween?

Hi Folks — Okay, this is a day late, but too shocking to ignore. Go to this page of local listings of Halloween activities and check out what it says under “Frederick,” a Maryland suburb just north of D.C. Aw, heck, here —  I’ll excerpt it for you:

The City of Frederick does not sanction Halloween due to safety reasons. Times and restrictions should be determined by street blocks.

Yup, the town is officially sticking its fingers in its ears and going, “LA LA LA LA LA!” at the mere mention of trick or treating. It’s just too horrifying for the town elders to contemplate, I guess. Better the kids should miss the holiday than have those folks shuddering all day.

Yesterday I was interviewed on a radio show ( KIRO in Seattle) and the host, John Curley, asked me to predict what Halloween will look like in 10 years. I said something like, “There will be no costumes, because if they’re too tight they can choke a kid, but too loose they could trip, and if they’re too scary, some kids can’t handle it. And there won’t be props,  because those could trip or hurt a kid, and naturally no trick or treating, because that’s just asking for trouble, and no candy would be given out anyway, because of the obesity epidemic. And at the community center parties they won’t have any games, because those are covered with germs and also, sometimes a kid may lose, and that’s bad for their self-esteem, and while the adults COULD hand out fully-wrapped, X-rayed treats, kids might be allergic,  so everyone will just give out erasers — provided those are large enough not to present a choking hazard.”

And I present to you the town of Frederick as the cutting edge of what we are up against. THAT is scary. — L.

UPDATE: In the comments below, some of you were wishing we could come up with a cute catchphrase for Halloween. How about this, for would-be worrywarts and naysayers: LET’S KEEP THE “ALLOW” IN HALLOWEEN! — L

71 Responses

  1. I wonder if they’ll ‘sanction’ New Years, in which I’m sure there are more injuries thanks to alcohol.

  2. Good point, Rich.

    It amazes me that towns have such a say in these things. That said, at least they’re saying individual blocks can do as they please.

  3. “Times and restrictions should be determined by street blocks”? What, I was supposed to poll all my neighbors to find out when to show up?

    And here I just waited until it was dark then helped my kid visit all the houses with lights on.

  4. So, I’m curious Lenore, has anyone ever considered that if we nationalized healthcare and changed the laws in regards to liability if that would do away with a lot of this dumbing down of childhood?

    Think about it, I know when my husband and I were underemployed and without insurance that I restricted a lot of what my kids could do for fear of cost. If businesses that cater to children, and schools not feel like they have to defend themselves at every turn.

  5. Maybe if we keep telling our kids those stories about trick-or-treating without our parents and filling multiple pillow cases full of candy on Halloween night they’ll realize the regulation of fun sucks the big one. Maybe they’ll lighten things up and let their kids have fun.

  6. Halloween isn’t quite the big thing in the UK as it is in the US, but we still have many occasions of taking things too far with various holidays and celebrations being ‘sanctioned’ or banned on an ill-thought out whim – usually a case of political correctness being taken too far, or yes, ‘health & safety’.

    I was interested to see this story though about Kennedy School in Somerville: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2049560/School-principal-bans-Fall-holidays-insensitive.html – it even made the UK press!

  7. Are you sure this is ongoing policy, not due to an emdrgency? My town North of Boston, and many others cancelled trick or treating because over 80% of it is without power, still full of downed power lines and ripped-off tree limbs caught on wires and trees overhead.

    Normally i’d treat a town’s interference in halloween with as much derision as if they’d told me i had to celebrate my bithday on a different day, but live electrical wires in the dark are a different matter. They have rescheduled it for Sunday.

  8. I would like to know more about the statement. To me it simply means the council thinks it is silly for the town to have a set time for something as old as the hills. So they don’t have an offical sanctioned time, instead they are saying go talk to your neighbors.

    Where I live they don’t sanction Halloween. No-one tells us it is Sunday from 3 to 5. You just go after dark to people who’s lights are on. It isn’t a government function to regulate Halloween. For a few years after the murder Timothy O’Bryan by his father we had the ER’s X-raying candy and schools throwing festivals as a safe alternative. Mostly out of fear of a copy cat.

    Now we get reminders to be careful walking and look out for cars and for drivers to watch out for the little ones.

    (I have no problem with towns in the middle of a natural disaster saying no trick or treating because of downed lines.)

  9. While there have been restrictions this year in some areas due to safety (as in fallen wires/tree branches), I’ve heard about sanctioned Halloween celebrations in others. Someone I know in PA had their trick or treating scheduled last Friday, from 6 to 8 p.m. Ridiculous!

    And what about the schools that won’t allow Halloween celebrations of any sort — talk about killjoys! For as long as I can remember, having an annual school parade, in costume, was a cherished holiday ritual.

  10. Other than the safety excuse it sounds the way Halloween should be. My town doesn’t “sanction” Halloween, we do it how we want, when we want.

  11. […] Original post: Um…Can a Town Actually “Not Sanction” Halloween? […]

  12. #ignore

  13. Our town will change Halloween when it falls on a Sunday to the Sat before. I never understand the reason they give which is that they don’t want it on a school night blah blah but they don’t change it when it is on a Mon, Tues, Wed etc. We are not stupid. It is because we live in the Bible belt and the church people threw a fit to the town leaders about trick or treating messing with Sunday night church! The horror! It always pissed me off about changing the date.

    It has been that way since I was middle school aged. Other than that there is no rules about it. I would give out candy that Sunday and Saturday. We just wait until dark and go to the houses with the porch lights on.

  14. I do hope the town of Frederick will address the dreaded Christmas and not sanction that either.
    The trees are a fire waiting to happen, and an old man in a red suit sneaking into houses late a night? Sounds like a pedophile.

  15. Actually, I think we should be applauding this. I read this as the town stepping out and leaving it all alone (something I wish more towns would do, and which, thankfully, mine seems to). Given the follow-up sentence about individual blocks working it out amongst themselves, I take their statement as meaning, “It’s not the government’s place to make any declarations about how trick-or-treating is ‘supposed’ to go. Go enjoy yourselves in whatever way works for you.” As it should be!

    Granted, the “due to safety reasons” probably suggests that some lawyer told them to stay out of it to protect themselves, but let’s leave that aside for a moment. Feeling charitable, I’ll even take *that* in a good light, because I don’t think anyone who manages to injure themselves while trick-or-treating ought to sue the town (even though I’m sure *someone* might try it).

    I think *all* towns should stay out of it, and allow trick-or-treating to remain the grassroots activity it’s always been. We don’t need the government’s blessing to knock on our neighbors’ doors and share a bit of candy amongst ourselves.

  16. I work in Frederick… and somehow I did not know this.. WTH?!!

    Frederick is a very nice community with lots of regular streets full of brick ranchers. There is no reason Halloween would be any more “dangerous” than anyone else. One of the many reasons I’m glad I don’t actually live in Frederick.

  17. @babs – I live in NJ, but right on the PA border, and it’s really common for towns in PA to hold ToT on a different night, and sometimes its INCREDIBLY arbitrary. My sister-in-law lives out near Kutztown, and her town holds ToT the Wednesday AND Thursday before Halloween, even when Halloween is on the weekend!!

    I do kind of like the idea of it not being sanctioned by the town if it means the town just thinks it’s something neighborhoods should organize on their own, rather than the town’s leaders being opposed to celebrating Halloween altogether.

  18. In 10 years, children will line up in a gymnasium, slather themselves in Purel, people will donate candy made of soy which will pass through bomb and metal detection equipment, the children will be required to wear all gray uniforms, the slogan will be changed from ‘trick or treat’ to ‘healthy treat’, and the name will be changed from ‘harvest festival’ to ‘leaf festival’ because people with no harvest were offended.

  19. Halloween would have been banned 5 years previously….

  20. I don’t think this is as sinister as portrayed, if you actually click the link … it’s a list of all the towns and what their Halloween activities are and whether there are particular trick or treating hours. (Note: I don’t personally think it’s necessary to have official trick or treating hours, I thought it was kind of understood, but whatever.) All Frederick is saying is that they don’t officially designate trick or treating hours and that individual neighborhoods can figure it out on their own. I do think the addition of “for safety reasons” is goofy, but again,the town isn’t saying DON’T trick or treat, they’re just opting not to regulate it at all – and THAT, ehther it’s for “safety” reasons or not, is quite FR, isn’t it?

  21. On a serious note, our town always does ToT on October 31st and this is just how it is, the township does not get involved. We had 5 inches of snow this year so kids went out in snow boots and gloves. We had record levels of kids, and served hot chocolate in addition to candy (big hit!).
    There was a message from the township police on our local website reminding everyone to drive safely and that all of it’s patrol cars would be stocked with plenty of candy to hand out.

  22. I am so glad to live in a neighborhood where none of this is a big deal. Kids go trick or treating when it gets dark, either in groups or (for younger kids) with a parent or older sibling following behind. Parents answer doors and say hi to to neighborhood children and admire their costumes. Some grownups get into the spirit of the holiday by dressing up to hand out candy (my partner this year offered the kids a choice of kit kats or a jar of our pet cockroaches–which we keep to feed our pet tarantula–; several of the kids wanted a roach!). People walking with their kids call to each other and stop at the end of the block to chat while the kids go door to door. The whole thing is a great neighborhood event. Thank goodness so far we’ve been spared any messing around with it.

  23. It is entirely possible that the town isn’t actually citing safety as an issue. If they were specifically asked if they were sanctioning times or activities for safety reasons and said no you can easily end up with a poorly phrased listing that makes it sound like they are anti-Halloween in the name of safety when they simply don’t think it needs to be regulated.

  24. I think they are just covering their butts against a lawsuit. Why, if the town officially posts Trick-or-Treat times or in any way condones revelry, someone’s going to say their kid would not have gotten a boo-boo (no pun intended) were it not for that official announcement.

    At least they didn’t outlaw the holiday.

  25. I think the free-range movement almost has to have a clear position on tort reform. In the absence of frivolous lawsuits, the landscape would be a lot different. Then we could focus on more individual fears such as child-snatching and germs.

  26. In ten years we’ll probably be on the downswing of all this safety paranoia. We already *are*, when it comes to that – your blog is far from the only one these days.

    But as far as no costumes goes, some of the kids on my block are trying that now. And they call me mean when I enforce my rule – no costume, no candy (well, glow… whatever). I say “Look, you’ve been coming to my house TEN YEARS. Get with the program already!”

    I also say that if you’re 11, you’re too young to dress as a school girl, first because you ARE a school girl, and second because that costume is waaaaaay inappropriate. If you’re too young to understand that the skirt is so short it shows your panties when you bend over, you should be wearing another costume. (Is that just me? Please say it’s not just me!)

  27. If only there was a cute catch phrase (a la stranger danger) for Halloween like there is for Christmas (“Keep the Christ in Christmas”).
    Keep the Kid in Halloween.

  28. Cynthia, Same here north of Boston. Determining times has always been a courtesy, so everyone is on the same page. How do people coordinate this ‘by block’? It sounds more dangerous, because motorists might not be aware.

    I remember back in the mid-90s, my home town wanted it on the Sunday night prior if Halloween fell on a Monday. What happened was that all the surrounding towns came in, so some of the neighborhoods received hundreds of trick or treaters. Then on Halloween everyone in our town went to those surrounding towns.

    It just became confusing.

    This year we’re on Sunday, delayed because of the massive power outages. I hope enough people in my neighborhood will be available for the children.

    Honestly because of the community participation, it is easier to delay Christmas then it is Halloween.

  29. So, I’m curious Lenore, has anyone ever considered that if we nationalized healthcare and changed the laws in regards to liability if that would do away with a lot of this dumbing down of childhood?

    I doubt it. The UK stands out as a country with nationalized health care and insane levels of kiddy-bubble-wrap. I don’t think Canada is quite so bad as the US or the UK, but there is some level of fear mongering there as well to go with their nationalized health care.

  30. Lollipoplover, you just caused my mind to go in all kinds of inappropriate directions . . . .

  31. Re the nationalized healthcare thing – I would also worry that that would lead to even more ridiculous restrictions, on the theory that it’s saving the country money. It seems I recall a similar argument recently being used in reference to the recent of some sort of rough-and-tumble or other. They are already using it in regard to the banning of “unhealthy” eating.

  32. Good point SKL

    Whatever you feel about nationalized health care (and I’m a supporter) it IS used as a justification for more safety regulations, such as required seat belts and helmets. The argument being that you can’t take undue risks with your own life, because we all have to pay to patch you up.

  33. I wish we could edit our typos. In my middle sentence, I meant “the banning of some sort . . . ” not “the recent of some sort . . . .” The perils of editing . . . .

  34. @elizabeth (aka Lady K): Not sure about nationalizing health care. I’m sure that would put some ease in parent’s minds (regarding issue with child safety and all). But not by much. IMO, what would help is to put a stop to frivolous lawsuits. Make it that much harder for people to get away with making a “fast buck”. Laws would have to be re-worked. To put logic and reason back into play. It’s fear that is causing people to do the things they do. If you can eliminate one fear, you’ll lessen another. If you can lessen that fear, you can move towards eliminating it. Which will lessen other fears. etc.. Just like the domino effect that has brought society to where it is today, I can’t see the same domino effect not being able to make things better. Sad to say, ours is a society of “monkey see, monkey do”. But we at least have the ability to start a positive trend, rather than negative ones. It’s just a matter of doing so.

  35. Before last year, our house had about 3 kids coming every year. Last year it was about 8 kids. This year it was so many that I ended up sitting on the porch for some of the night… I estimate it at about 30 kids, give or take 10 or so. In the last six months I must say I have seen quite dramatic changes in a good way, at least in my own hometown of Tulsa, OK. Maybe it has something to do with the recent colder winters — after all, the 50s-70s were quite a bit colder in the USA than the 80s through mid 00s.

  36. Re. the nationalized healthcare debate. While it’s true that we have both healthcare and some crazy fear-mongering here in Canada, I would say US culture is very different because of the whole lawsuit question. i don’t quite understand what tort reform is, but I can tell you that in Canada, the government sets limits on liability for personal injury so that, if I break my leg falling down my neighbours broken steps, I could sue them, but the most I could sue them for, assuming that my ability to work/care for kids/etc. is not PERMANENTLY affected, is limited by law. So people here don’t file lawsuits for every injury because, in most cases, the payout just wouldn’t be worth the effort (especially after the lawyers take their cut). Of course, if there is criminal negligence, people can press criminal charges, but it still doesn’t mean that they will profit any more financially. I’m obviously not a lawyer and I don’t fully understand the differences between US and Canada, but I can tell you that the same year I was hit by a car while riding my bike (stupid driver error) and ended up with a broken jaw and several broken teeth, the payout I received was less than what my mother received for suing a realtor when she fell and broke her arm at an open house in San Francisco (her lawyer argued that the step was not clearly marked, while in Canada, someone might have said she should have been watching where she was going!).

  37. This is a good thing and really isn’t a free range kids issue. The city didn’t BAN Halloween, they merely opted not to impose government upon it in any way. They specifically encouraged neighborhoods (“street blocks”) to work it out amongst themselves, sort of like when many of us were kids. When I was a kid, the city didn’t “sanction” or otherwise regulate Halloween – there were no set hours, and BY VOLUNTARY CUSTOM, kids went to homes that indicated their participation by a lit porch light or jack’o’lantern. When people ran out of candy or wanted to retire, they simply turned off their porch lights, and we bypassed them, often seeking diehard homeowners until 10PM or later.

    This case represents a refreshing instance of government keeping its nose out of places it doesn’t belong, and should be applauded, especially when government’s involvement is often to the detriment of free-range parents.

    Let’s hope this isn’t some sort of “jumped the shark” mission creep for FreeRangeKids. The preceding story is also not related to this blog’s stated topic – it’s a question of property rights and the obligation of all property owners, including schools, to limit the impact of the externalities of their property use upon their neighbors. If someone next door to an industrial facility or a bar can expect it to limit the encroachment of its noise upon them, then why can’t the neighbor of a school? Perhaps the school can erect a noise barrier like many highway departments do. This has nothing to do with overprotecting kids, and everything to do with consideration for neighbors. We have a similar battle in my community about late night noise and light from a university stadium, and believe me, none of the neighbors are concerned about protecting big, strong college football players from the vaguaries of the night.

  38. Also, since most US children are in fact insured, I think the greater fear in parents would be that they’d have to wait a lot longer for their kids to be seen in the event of an illness or accident. Having personal knowledge of a Canadian child who had to wait 4 years to have a simple procedure done on her bladder, I can only imagine how long it would take for my kids to get their broken bone set or their cut stitched.

  39. I lived in Pennsylvania for a couple of years (outside of Pittsburgh) and our town did trick or treating on the Thursday BEFORE Halloween. Even if Halloween was on a Thursday (then it was the week before).
    I thought it completely bonkers coming from Chicago where kids trick or treat on Halloween, no other day. I had no idea other places didn’t do it that way.
    I still think the Thursday before thing is wonky but having scheduled hours for trick or treating was actually kind of nice. They were 6-8pm and EVERYONE in the town was out. There was no bell ringing because anyone that was passing out candy sat on their porch or in their yard waiting and the police and volunteer firefighters were out en force to keep trouble down. I felt very safe going out alone with 4 small kids and there was so much candy the kids filled their bags twice and that got dumped into the bag hanging from the stroller which was overflowing when we got home.
    Plus the one year we went on Thursday and the weather was gorgeous–in the upper 50s after dark, no rain or anything. Actual Halloween it was around 30F and trying to snow. We won, lol.

    I was really disappointed with Halloween this year. We live in a small town in south western Washington state now and there was almost no one out. last year there were a ton of kids out. this year we ran into maybe 5 or 6 other families. That’s it the entire hour and a half we were out. It was sad.

  40. @SKL- my apologies. I have been under the influence of Twix/SwedishFish/Snickers since mid-morning (washed down with coffee), and am wound tighter than a two-peckered goat.

    Long live giant mounds of Halloween candy.

  41. Kids who are too stifled on Halloween turn into teens who do cosplay. Then they can have all the too-tight, too-loose, and too-terrifying costumes they want.

    One of my favorite geek convention stories is about when my 3yo son started crying during a kids’ puppet show. I took him out in the hall, where he calmed himself down… not five feet away from a 6-foot-plus Tusken Raider, who didn’t faze him a bit.

    If we lose Halloween, i won’t care much. Cosplay cons happen all year. And it’s better for them, anyhow, if you ask me. The bar on costume quality is so high that hundreds of kids, boys and girls alike, are motivated to learn how to sew.

  42. I’m with those who think that a town staying OUT of this is a good thing. Why, for crying out loud, does a town have to codify a holiday ? One that isn’t even a federal holiday?

    Can you imagine the phone calls they would be getting if they did? “Police, it’s 9:15 PM and there are those awful 13 year olds out in my neighborhood without their parents and T or T hours were over 15 minutes ago! Someone call CPS!”

  43. My city of New Buffalo, MI has sanctioned Halloween for at least 20 years. It is held on the Sunday closest to the 31st from 2-6. The parade is at 1:30 with judging of costumes beginning at 1:00.
    Treat bags are handed out at the end of the parade and then the kids can trick or treat. Fun for little ones, boring for 12 year olds.

  44. I like what my city does: they announce every year that drivers should watch out for little ghouls and goblins and ask parents to make sure that their kids have reflectors on their costumes if they plan to ToT alone. Businesses and non-profits organize assorted ToT and harvest party events on their own.

  45. I am pro free range but I am not pro tort reform.

  46. Good! Halloween can happen at the time/days that the parents feel it is most appropriate, mostly on Halloween! They don’t care if the actual day is a Sunday, Tuesday or Saturday.

    Where I lived as a teen, also in MD, there was a Halloween Parade every year. It was always ON Halloween, not the nearest weekend. That was really cool, but I must say I am not sure if it is still that way or not, now that most of the residents are retired people who moved in after they retired.

  47. The town I grew up in did not allow ToT in the ’80s, so I didn’t ToT until I was older. I always thought it was unfair to outlaw it because some kids were trouble makers. From what I recall, it was because of the razor in candy threat coupled with some mischief around town. So, it’s not a new thing unfortunately.

  48. My cousin lives in PA and had a few inches of snow. I made the comment to her that ToT would be interesting this year. She replied–“Our town does ToT Night on the Friday before Halloween.”

    Excuse me?

    Halloween is October 31. There is no such thing as “Trick or Treat Night”.

    What happens if you go out on Halloween? Do you get arrested?

  49. Have no fear. I live in Frederick, MD, and we absolutely celebrated Halloween (ON Halloween, even!). In fact, our HOA posted hours (6PM-8PM) that trick-or-treating should occur, and that if we wanted to hand out candy we should simply turn on our porch lights so that the trick-or-treaters would know to come to us. Many, many of our neighbors participated and I don’t know of any community in the city of Frederick that did NOT have trick-or-treating. So, to say that the city does not officially “sanction” Halloween/trick-or-treating does not mean that they are not *allowing* it. We’ve lived here for 3.5 years and had fabulous trick-or-treating experiences every year.

    Also, kids from kindergarten on up play happily in my neighborhood without helicoptoring parents (although we do like to check often out the windows or call their name from time to time to make sure they’re still safe and within their allowed boundaries). Many of the kids in our neighborhood even walk the half-mile to school (the younger ones with parent escorts). It is certainly not the MOST Free-Range neighborhood, but it’s far from the least. So don’t get too down on Frederick!

  50. elizabeth,

    If, by some mischance, we should ever adopt a National Health scheme the restrictions will be set, behind closed doors, by unelected bureaucrats. Appeals will be expensive and labyrinthian, and almost always denied, and the public will never seem to have any input, although public input will be much talked about. That alone is sufficient reason fro ME to want to ditch the idea.

  51. “If only there was a cute catch phrase (a la stranger danger) for Halloween like there is for Christmas (“Keep the Christ in Christmas”).
    Keep the Kid in Halloween.”

    Keep the ‘Ow!’ in Halloween.😛

  52. Frederick residents at their Halloween best here: “Close Encounters: Neighboring duo’s ‘joint venture’ creates elaborate Halloween displays”

    The town ain’t so bad after all! Here is the full article:

    http://www.fredericknewspost.com/sections/news/display.htm?StoryID=127774

  53. I have never been on a more negative website with so many people blindly jumping on the bandwagon of victimhood. I am constantly amazed at the “us vs them” mentality.

    Over 2 million people on the east coast were without power. If you took 20 seconds to verify this you would have learned that the original safety recommendations were the same as every other neighborhood. http://www.cityoffrederick.com/cms/press/mediaadvisory.php?ID=2538

  54. Awww, it’s been awhile since we’ve all been accused of blindly following. Considering the number of comments disagreeing with Lenore, as well as the comments having little to nothing to do with Frederick, it’s kind of sweet.

  55. wow, unbelievable! i don’t have kids yet, but when i do, i want them to enjoy halloween as much as i did when i was a kid. (which included going to strangers’ houses for candy, and somehow i survived!)

  56. I have to respond to this as I grew up in Frederick and still live close. The city of Frederick has NEVER had an official Halloween, it’s always been the same thing, each block or so would say what times they would be doing the trick or treating. Mostly it was the neighbors, you know, talking to one another.

    That’s the way it’s been for at least the last 30 or so years, hell that’s the way it was in my neighborhood. They didn’t say no trick or treating, they just didn’t say when you should do it. I’d much rather have it that way then someone telling us to do it only on the weekend.

  57. Say . . . is it just me, or is Halloween night getting colder and colder? Where is “global warming” when you want it?

  58. SKL, climate change, unfortunately, doesn’t mean every single day will be warmer than last year in every single part of the world. In some areas (for example, the East Coast) climate change was predicted over a decade ago to lead at first to colder, wetter weather as the cold water from the melting ice caps flows down to us.

    Which is exactly what we’ve gotten. Cold, wet, miserable springs and summers.

    But we don’t have to ask if the weather has gotten colder or warmer or whatever, we can look at the records. You pull up the newspapers for your area since childhood (should be at the library) and check out the weather forecasts for the past few decades of Halloween. Then we don’t have to suppose anything.

  59. Uly, that sounds like a great research/science project for my kids when they get a little older.

    They are a well-matched team. One is a liberal and the other is a conservative.

  60. One is a liberal and the other is a conservative.

    Cool!

    Not that there’s any reason for them to not be on the same side of any issue solidly backed by scientific consensus. Just be on the watch for the claim that one scientist out of a hundred constituting controversy.

  61. My hometown (or hometownship, I guess you would call it) had designated trick or treat night. It may have fallen on Halloween a couple of times, but I seem to remember it always being on a random weeknight from like 4-7 p.m. People who wanted to participate put balloons on their mailboxes. My township didn’t have sidewalks and houses were usually about an acre apart, at least (and many had fields for crops or livestock that went right up to the road), so people really did have to drive from home to home to collect their candy. I have to hand it to people for carpooling, as there would typically be a few pickup trucks loaded with kids in the open back (and unrestrained!) pulling into our driveway and running up to the porch to get their loot.

    If kids had tried to come on actual Halloween, we wouldn’t have had any candy to give them.

    I never trick or treated in my own township, because the pickins were slim. I went to the town where my grandmother and several aunts and uncles and cousins lived because I would come home with a pillowcase half full of candy.

  62. I’m curious. Since when does a town have to sanction Halloween- or any other type of holiday for that matter?

  63. Eh. I live in Frederick. No one heard anything about this. It’s not like there was something listed in the papers or on the radio. That’s just a “we don’t have an official Halloween date” statement. Probably b/c some of the neighboring PA towns have Trick or Treat on some weird date–for “safety reasons.” T-o-T is always just on Halloween here, no matter the day on which it falls. Let’s not get our knickers in a twist over some legalese.

  64. Let’s not forget the specter of too-cool-weather! A suggestion I made for a mother’s group I belong to to bring the kids trick-or-treating around my (lovely) neighborhood was shot down in favor of a mall walk, because “what if it’s too cold!”

  65. Our town has Halloween on Halloween and has designated trick or treat hours. We were part of that “fun” winter storm on Saturday and just got power back at midnight- we could not leave our house for a while due to live wires in the yard. Many schools are still closed, our neighborhood is still full of downed trees and several other towns still do not have power and assuming our entire town has power on Sunday then that will be Halloween observed.
    I am fine with cancelling for safety reasons but not just because.

  66. JS: LOL about that. We live in the South but it was pretty cold here on Halloween night at about 40 degrees. We still trick or treated. I was smart in the first place and got costumes that would allow for warm clothing underneath. Then we layered thermals and pjs under the turtlenecks and sweatpants and then our crayon costume on top. So we stayed toasty warm and did not have to cover our costume up with a coat. It worked perfectly!

  67. interesting how there’s an update to the post to remark on a single comment about sloganeering, but no response from Lenore regarding the several commenters, some FROM Frederick, mythbusting her hysterical overreaction to the city simply minding its own business regarding Halloween. It’s sad when a blogger representing a good cause discredits the very cause by succumbing to overzealous mission creep.

  68. Watch out for those erasers you’re planning on handing out! Not only do they present a choking hazard, they also contain latex!

  69. Chicago also does not officially sanction halloween. AND I LOVE IT THAT WAY. I grew up in Milwaukee where some fear-mongering idiots made us trick or treat in daylight on a Sunday afternoon during a set, 2-hour time window. What fun is that??? Half of the halloween decorations are meant to be seen at night!

    Trick or treating in my Chicago neighborhood is a blast. I always laugh when people ask (on Chicago parenting websites), “when is trick or treat?” Um, Halloween night. Like it’s supposed to be.

    Kudos to Frederick for staying out of it and letting kids be kids (and adults be adults)!

  70. Reading all of these comments it seems to me that these laws, etc., are more meant for the adults (so they can sleep at night with a empty conscience) than they are for the well being of the kids.

    Which means adults are only watching out for themselves because heaven forbid one of their child might get hurt. Unless an adult teaches a child to fear anything and everything, a child does not know what or who to fear.

  71. Jamaicalady:”Reading all of these comments it seems to me that these laws, etc., are more meant for the adults (so they can sleep at night with a empty conscience) than they are for the well being of the kids.”

    Then clearly you’re not reading for comprehension, because the upshot of the comment stream is that there WAS NO LAW. The city explicitly restrained itself from enacting any law, policy, or proclamation about Halloween, leaving it to parents to decide for themselves what was appropriate. Lenore jumped on this without understanding it. This has been well established in the comments by RESIDENTS of that city.

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