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Haverhill Archive

January 28, 2008

City considers return to traditional trick-or-treating; Parents propose change to Halloween night

HAVERHILL - When Halloween rolls around in 281 days, the city may actually see children going door to door speaking their traditional ultimatum - "trick or treat."

The City Council's Administration and Finance Committee is meeting tonight about the possibility of allowing trick or treating on Halloween night.

In 1996, the council voted to ban trick or treating on Halloween if it fell on a Sunday or weekday, and instead limited it to the last Saturday in October.

Councilors are considering abolishing the ordinance in response to a flood of complaints from parents.

Councilor Mary Ellen Daly O'Brien said she received dozens of e-mails and calls from parents who want the law changed to allow children to trick or treat on Halloween night. She is chairwoman of the committee.

"This is kind of an emotional issue because it involves children," O'Brien said. "People really had strong feelings."

Other parents support the status quo of Saturday trick or treating, which avoids having to take their kids outside on the streets during the rush of school and workdays, she said.

The law was changed 11 years ago to prevent children from trick or treating on a school night, or on business days when traffic is thickest.

"The passion was equal for both sides," O'Brien said. "It really was almost half-and-half how people thought about it."

If the committee decides to change the law, the full council will have to approve it.

According to the city ordinance, trick or treating would happen on Oct. 25 this year, six days before Halloween.

The public is invited to tonight's meeting at 7 in the City Council office on the second floor of City Hall, Daly O'Brien said.

Councilor Kenneth Quimby said his only concern about Halloween night trick or treating is how the parents will be able to get home from work in time to go with their children. But he plans to vote to abolish the current ordinance.

"If it comes down to it, I'll go for the regular trick or treating day," he said.


Having a say

What: Meeting about allowing trick or treating on Halloween night

When: Tonight at 7

Where: City Council office, second floor of City Hall

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