Officials want out of the trick-or-treat business

Officials want out of the trick-or-treat business
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Carlisle Trick or Treat file

Noah Lohman, 4, receives a treat from Cathy Sheesley during trick-or-treat night in Carlisle in 2018.

Carlisle Borough wants to get out of the trick-or-treat business, at least in part.

Since the 1950s, municipalities in Cumberland County have set official trick-or-treat nights. Carlisle first set trick or treat night in 1959, selecting Oct. 29 as the official night that year “so that residents would not be bothered all that week by youngsters seeking handouts,” according to the Oct. 9, 1959, edition of The Evening Sentinel.

Last year’s weather-related cancellations and this year’s COVID-19 fears prompted Carlisle Mayor Tim Scott to propose that the borough divest itself of setting an official trick or treat date aside from giving the general go-ahead for neighborhoods to plan their own events on Halloween.

“I recommend the Office of the Mayor and the Borough of Carlisle take ourselves out of the Halloween business and simply make it a decision for parents and neighbors whether to go have Trick-Or-Treat night on October 31st,” he said in a statement. “The borough can offer some recommendations as to safety and proper social distancing. But, parents need to decide if it’s safe enough for their children to go door to door and collect candy. Likewise, neighbors need to make the same assessment.”

Practically, if the recommendation is adopted, the borough would no longer set the times for trick or treat nor would it make a call as to whether the event should be canceled for any reason. However, the neighborhoods would be expected to hold their events on Oct. 31, as that would be the day the borough would be prepared with extra safety precautions

Scott’s proposal does not affect this year’s trick-or-treat night scheduled for 6-8 p.m. Oct. 29.

The proposal met with general approval from council members.

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“I, too, think the borough, the council should not be part of this. It should be about neighborhoods and parents and people making an individual decision,” councilwoman Deb Fulham-Winston said. “It really doesn’t have a governmental necessity of oversight.”

Councilwoman Brenda Landis said she understands safety concerns associated with having trick or treat on weekends or nights on which there is also a Carlisle High School football game, but that the borough can address these concerns in other ways if necessary.

“We can be cognizant of it, but be safe and have it on the books. That way people aren’t necessarily looking to us for all the guidance,” she said.

While supporting the recommendation, councilman Joel Hicks said the borough should continue to be a source of information for neighborhoods.

“We may uniquely be in a position to know about a public health or a safety situation that others may not,” he said.

Scott said the borough could continue in just such an advisory mode and that the borough’s parks and recreation department should continue to offer its events.

Official action may not need to be taken to make the change.

“In my mind, there really isn’t any official action that the borough needs to take other than perhaps releasing a statement or discussing it at a public meeting,” Scott said.

Email Tammie at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @TammieGitt.

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